Dabigatran has been associated with greater risk of myocardial infarction (MI) than warfarin. It is unknown whether the increased risk is unique to dabigatran, an adverse effect shared by other oral direct thrombin inhibitors (DTIs), or the result of a protective effect of warfarin against MI. To address these questions, we systematically searched MEDLINE and performed a meta-analysis on randomized trials that compared oral DTIs with warfarin for any indication with end point of MIs after randomization. We furthermore performed a secondary meta-analysis on atrial fibrillation stroke prevention trials with alternative anticoagulants compared with warfarin with end point of MIs after randomization. A total of 11 trials (39,357 patients) that compared warfarin to DTIs (dabigatran, ximelagatran, and AZD0837) were identified. In these trials, patients treated with oral DTIs were more likely to experience an MI than their counterparts treated with warfarin (285 of 23,333 vs 133 of 16,024, odds ratio 1.35, 95% confidence interval 1.10 to 1.66, p = 0.005). For secondary analysis, 8 studies (69,615 patients) were identified that compared warfarin with alternative anticoagulant including factor Xa inhibitors, DTIs, aspirin, and clopidogrel. There was no significant advantage in the rate of MIs with the use of warfarin versus comparators (odds ratio 1.06, 95% confidence interval 0.85 to 1.34, p = 0.59). In conclusion, our data suggest that oral DTIs were associated with increased risk of MI. This increased risk appears to be a class effect of these agents, not a specific phenomenon unique to dabigatran or protective effect of warfarin. These findings support the need for enhanced postmarket surveillance of oral DTIs and other novel agents.
American Journal of Cardiology, 2013, Vol 112, Issue 12, p. 1973-9