Direct oral anticoagulants and therapeutic adherence: do not let your guard down

Erica De Candia, Raimondo De Cristofaro, Leonardo Di Gennaro, Maria Basso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Direct oral anticoagulants (DOAC) and vitamin K antagonist drugs (VKA) are recommended for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation and for treatment of venous thromboembolism. Undoubtedly, DOAC have contributed to improve quality of life of these patients, but unfortunately, available ‘real world’ data show a very high variable compliance to DOAC. Aims and objectives: to evaluate predictors that adversely affect therapeutic adherence in patients naive (Formula presented.) to DOAC. Methods and population: this study was conducted on an outpatient population in oral anticoagulant therapy in a period between January 2019 and February 2020. Patients naiveto DOAC and treated for at least 6 months were enrolled. Non-Italian-speaking patients, cognitive or psychiatric disorders, refusal to participate or non-consent to the interview were exclusion criteria. A socio-demographic scale and the 8-item Morisky scale (MMAS-8) questionnaire assessed therapeutic adherence. Results: One hundred two DOAC-naïve patients were selected from a population of 407 patients on the first visit at our centre. The population was homogeneously represented for gender (males 48%). The mean age was 79.5 years. Atrial fibrillation (65.7%) resulted the main reason for DOAC prescription and a polypharmacy was detected in 47.1% of the patients. Moreover, an optimal adherence to DOAC therapy was assessed in less than 30% of patients. Conclusions: Polypharmacy, patient’s isolation, such as a low education level were statistically associated with a low therapeutic adherence. Therapeutic adherence remains an unsolved problem for anticoagulated patient. To identify patients at higher risk of poor compliance and therapeutic failure and establish targeted care pathways is a priority.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7-7
JournalActa Cardiologica
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Direct oral anticoagulants
  • clinical practice
  • drug compliance
  • therapeutic adherence
  • thrombosis


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