Cost-effectiveness of non-Vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants for atrial fibrillation in Portugal

João Costa*, Francesca Fiorentino, Daniel Caldeira, Mónica Inês, Catarina Lopes Pereira, Luís Pinheiro, António Vaz-Carneiro, Margarida Borges, Miguel Gouveia

*Corresponding author for this work

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction and Objectives Recently, three novel non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants received approval for reimbursement in Portugal for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF). It is therefore important to evaluate the relative cost-effectiveness of these new oral anticoagulants in Portuguese AF patients. Methods A Markov model was used to analyze disease progression over a lifetime horizon. Relative efficacy data for stroke (ischemic and hemorrhagic), bleeding (intracranial, other major bleeding and clinically relevant non-major bleeding), myocardial infarction and treatment discontinuation were obtained by pairwise indirect comparisons between apixaban, dabigatran and rivaroxaban using warfarin as a common comparator. Data on resource use were obtained from the database of diagnosis-related groups and an expert panel. Model outputs included life years gained, quality-adjusted life years (QALYs), direct healthcare costs and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICERs). Results Apixaban provided the most life years gained and QALYs. The ICERs of apixaban compared to warfarin and dabigatran were €5529/QALY and €9163/QALY, respectively. Apixaban was dominant over rivaroxaban (greater health gains and lower costs). The results were robust over a wide range of inputs in sensitivity analyses. Apixaban had a 70% probability of being cost-effective (at a threshold of €20 000/QALY) compared to all the other therapeutic options. Conclusions Apixaban is a cost-effective alternative to warfarin and dabigatran and is dominant over rivaroxaban in AF patients from the perspective of the Portuguese national healthcare system. These conclusions are based on indirect comparisons, but despite this limitation, the information is useful for healthcare decision-makers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)723-737
Number of pages15
JournalRevista Portuguesa de Cardiologia
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015


  • Oral anticoagulants
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Quality-adjusted life years

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