Determinants for under- and overdosing of direct oral anticoagulants and physicians' implementation of clinical pharmacists' recommendations

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Aims: To analyse the appropriateness of direct oral anticoagulant (DOAC) dosing and determinants for under-and overdosing as well as acceptance and implementation rates of pharmacists' interventions. Methods: Cross-sectional study in a tertiary hospital in hospitalized patients with atrial fibrillation on DOACs in 2019 (n = 1688). Primary outcome was the proportion of patients with inappropriate DOAC prescribing with identification of determinants for under-and overdosing. Secondary outcomes included acceptance and implementation rates of pharmacists' recommendations and determination of reasons for nonacceptance/nonimplementation. Results: Inappropriate prescribing was observed in 16.9% of patients (n = 286) with underdosing (9.7%) being more prevalent than overdosing (6.9%). For all DOACs considered together, body weight<60 kg (odds ratio [OR] 0.46 [0.27–0.77]), edoxaban use (OR 0.42 [0.24–0.74]), undergoing surgery (OR 0.57 [0.37–0.87]) and being DOAC naïve (OR 0.45 [0.29–0.71]) were associated with significantly lower odds of underdosing. Bleeding history (OR 1.86 [1.24–2.80]) and narcotic use (OR 1.67 [1.13–2.46]) were associated with significantly higher odds for underdosing. Determinants with a significantly higher odds of overdosing were renal impairment (OR 11.29 [6.23–20.45]) and body weight<60 kg (OR 2.34 [1.42–3.85]), whereas dabigatran use (OR 0.24 [0.08–0.71]) and apixaban (OR 0.18 [0.10–0.32]) were associated with a significantly lower odds of overdosing compared to rivaroxaban. Physicians accepted the pharmacists' advice in 179 cases (79.2%) consisting of 92 (51.4%) recommendations for underdosing, 82 (45.8%) for overdosing and 5 (2.8%) for contraindications. Conclusion: Inappropriate DOAC prescribing remains common, although there is a slight improvement compared to our study of 2016. Clinical services led by pharmacists help physicians to reduce the number of inadequate prescriptions for high-risk medications such as DOACs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)753-763
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number2
Early online date31 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

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