Objective: The objective of this study was to explore the perceived advantages and disadvantages of oral anticoagulant therapies (OAT), and the trade-offs patients make in choosing therapy and adhering to their drug regimen.
Methods: Five focus group sessions were conducted across Europe among patients with atrial fibrillation to identify the most important factors impacting OAT's value and adherence.
Results: The most frequently identified barriers to OAT were lack of knowledge; poor patient-physician relationships; distraction due to employment or social environment; prior bleeding event(s) or the fear of bleeding; and changes in routine. Factors identified as promoting adherence included patients' personality, motivation, attitudes, and medication-taking habits and routines, as well as good quality health services. Inconvenient aspects of vitamin-K antagonists, such as regular blood monitoring and diet restrictions, were not reported to influence adherence, but may trigger patients to switch to direct oral anticoagulants.
Conclusion: Most patients reported that a mixture of modifiable and non-modifiable factors helps them to take their drugs as prescribed. Individual patients’ particular needs and preferences regarding OAT vary. Practice implications: OAT adherence can be promoted if therapies are tailored to patients’ needs and preferences. Patients should be supported to share their preferences with their clinician.
- Atrial fibrillation
- Focus group
- Patient perspective