Site-level variation in and practices associated with dabigatran adherence

Supriya Shore, P. Michael Ho, Anne Lambert-Kerzner, Thomas J. Glorioso, Evan P. Carey, Fran Cunningham, Lisa Longo, Cynthia Jackevicius, Adam Rose, Mintu P. Turakhia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


IMPORTANCE: Unlike warfarin, which requires routine laboratory testing and dose adjustment, target-specific oral anticoagulants like dabigatran do not. However, optimal follow-up infrastructure and modifiable site-level factors associated with improved adherence to dabigatran are unknown. OBJECTIVES: To assess site-level variation in dabigatran adherence and to identify site-level practices associated with higher dabigatran adherence. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Mixed-methods study involving retrospective quantitative and cross-sectional qualitative data. A total of 67 Veterans Health Administration sites with 20 or more patients filling dabigatran prescriptions between 2010 and 2012 for nonvalvular atrial fibrillation were sampled (4863 total patients; median, 51 patients per site). Forty-seven pharmacists from 41 eligible sites participated in the qualitative inquiry. EXPOSURE: Site-level practices identified included appropriate patient selection, pharmacist-driven patient education, and pharmacist-led adverse event and adherence monitoring. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Dabigatran adherence (intensity of drug use during therapy) defined by proportion of days covered (ratio of days supplied by prescription to follow-up duration) of 80% or more. RESULTS: The median proportion of patients adherent to dabigatran was 74% (interquartile range [IQR], 66%-80%). After multivariable adjustment, dabigatran adherence across sites varied by a median odds ratio of 1.57. Review of practices across participating sites showed that appropriate patient selection was performed at 31 sites, pharmacist-led education was provided at 30 sites, and pharmacist-led monitoring at 28 sites. The proportion of adherent patients was higher at sites performing appropriate selection (75%vs 69%), education (76% vs 66%), and monitoring (77% vs 65%). Following multivariable adjustment, association between pharmacist-led education and dabigatran adherence was not statistically significant (relative risk [RR], 0.94; 95%CI, 0.83-1.06). Appropriate patient selection (RR, 1.14; 95%CI, 1.05-1.25), and provision of pharmacist-led monitoring (RR, 1.25; 95%CI, 1.11-1.41) were associated with better patient adherence. Additionally, longer duration of monitoring and providing more intensive care to nonadherent patients in collaboration with the clinician improved adherence. CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Among nonvalvular atrial fibrillation patients treated with dabigatran, there was variability in patient medication adherence across Veterans Health Administration sites. Specific pharmacist-based activities were associated with greater patient adherence to dabigatran.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1443-1450
Number of pages8
JournalJAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association
Issue number14
StatePublished - 14 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright 2015 American Medical Association. All rights reserved.


Dive into the research topics of 'Site-level variation in and practices associated with dabigatran adherence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this