Background: Direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) are an alternative for vitamin K antagonists (VKA) in the treatment and prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE). Patient preferences for treatment options have not been extensively explored.
Methods: A random sample of 200 patients was obtained from those treated with VKA for deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism or both at the Thrombosis Service Amsterdam. Preference for DOACs relative to VKA was assessed using a treatment trade-off technique administered as a questionnaire sent to all patients. The trade-off consisted of four consecutive scenarios: 1 (no need for laboratory control), 2 (decreased bleeding risk), 3 (less interactions with food and other drugs), 4 (higher efficacy).
Results: The response rate was 68%. In scenario 1, 36% of patients would switch to a DOAC. This proportion rises to 57% (odds ratio [OR] 2.3; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.6-3.3) for scenario 2. Scenario 3 resulted in 64% of patients preferring a DOAC (OR 3.2; 95%CI 2.2-4.6). The advantage of greater efficacy did not result in a noteworthy change in the preference. Patients who were less satisfied with their current treatment, who were younger and those with higher education were more likely to prefer a DOAC over a VKA. The variables gender, treatment duration, and type of VKA were not significantly associated with DOAC preference.
Conclusion: Almost two-thirds of patients preferred DOACs over VKA. Patients considered the lack of regular laboratory monitoring, the lower risk of serious bleeding and less interactions with food and other drugs the most important arguments to switch to a DOAC.