“In the COMPASS trial there was an overall positive result with rivaroxaban in the whole population. And now we have shown that patients with diabetes had an even greater absolute risk reduction. That pattern has also been seen with other classes of agents including the statins, PCSK9 inhibitors, and icosapent ethyl,” Bhatt noted.
“In patients with diabetes, I will usually target whatever is standing out most at that time. If their glycemic control is completely out of whack, then that is what I would focus on first, and these days often with a SGLT2 inhibitor or GLP-1 agonist. If the LDL was out of control, I would add ezetimibe or a PCSK9 inhibitor. If the triglycerides were high, I would add icosapent ethyl. If multiple things were out of control, I would usually focus on the number most out of kilter first and try not to forget about everything else.”
But Bhatt noted that the challenge with rivaroxaban is that there is no test of thrombosis risk that would prompt the physician to take action. “Basically, the doctor just has to remember to do it. In that regard I would consider whether patients are at low bleeding risk and are they still at high ischemic risk despite controlling other risk factors and, if so, then I would add this low dose of rivaroxaban.”
Another panel member, Sekar Kathiresan, MD, asked Bhatt whether he recommended using available scores to assess the bleeding/thrombosis risk/benefits of adding an antithrombotic.
Bhatt replied: “That’s a terrific question. I guess the right answer is that we should be doing that, but in reality I have to concede that I don’t use these scores. They have shown appropriate C statistics in populations, but they are not fantastic in individual patients.”
“I have to confess that I use the eyeball test. There is nothing as good at predicting future bleeding as past bleeding. So if a patient has had bleeding problems on aspirin alone I wouldn’t add rivaroxaban. But if a patient hasn’t bled before, especially if they had some experience of dual antiplatelet therapy, then they would be good candidates for a low vascular dose of rivaroxaban,” he said.
“It is not as easy as with other drugs as there is always a bleeding trade-off with an antithrombotic. There is no such thing as a free lunch. So patients need careful assessment when considering prescribing rivaroxaban and regular reassessment over time to check if they have had any bleeding,” he added.
The COMPASS study was funded by Bayer. Bhatt reports honoraria from Bayer via the Population Health Research Institute for his role on the COMPASS trial and other research funding from Bayer to the Brigham & Women’s Hospital.
American College of Cardiology 2020 Scientific Session (ACC.20)/World Congress of Cardiology (WCC). Abstract 20-LB-20544-ACC. Presented March 28, 2020.
Circulation. Published online March 28, 2020. Full text.
This article first appeared on Medscape.com.