Treatment with direct oral anticoagulants or warfarin and the risk for incident diabetes among patients with atrial fibrillation: a population‐based cohort study

Ching Lung Cheung, Chor Wing Sing, Wallis C.Y. Lau, Gloria H.Y. Li, Gregory Y.H. Lip, Kathryn C.B. Tan, Bernard M.Y. Cheung, Esther W.Y. Chan, Ian C.K. Wong

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Diabetes mellitus is a common comorbidity of atrial fibrillation (AF), which can complicate the management of AF. The pharmacology of oral anticoagulants (OACs) have been implicated in pathogenesis of diabetes, but the relationship between different OACs and risk of diabetes remains unexamined. This study aimed to evaluate the risk of diabetes with use of different OACs in AF patients. Methods: Population-based retrospective cohort study using an electronic healthcare database managed by the Hong Kong Hospital Authority. Patients newly diagnosed with AF from 2014 through 2018 and prescribed OACs were included and followed till December 31, 2019. Inverse probability of treatment weighting based on the propensity score (PS) is used to address potential bias due to nonrandomized allocation of treatment. The risks ofdiabetes were compared between different new OAC users using propensity score-weighted cumulative incidence differences (CID). Results: There were 13,688 new users of OACs (warfarin: n = 3454; apixaban: n = 3335; dabigatran: n = 4210; rivaroxaban: n = 2689). The mean age was 75.0 (SD, 11.2), and 6,550 (47.9%) were women. After a median follow-up of 0.93 years (interquartile range, 0.21–1.92 years), 698 incident diabetes cases were observed. In Cox-regression analysis, dabigatran use was significantly associated with reduced risk of diabetes when compared with warfarin use [HR 0.69 (95% CI 0.56–0.86; P < 0.001)], with statistically insignificant associations observed for use of apixaban and rivaroxaban. The corresponding adjusted CIDs at 2 years after treatment with apixaban, dabigatran, and rivaroxaban users when compared with warfarin were − 2.06% (95% CI − 4.08 to 0.16%); − 3.06% (95% CI − 4.79 to − 1.15%); and − 1.8% (− 3.62 to 0.23%). In head-to-head comparisons between women DOAC users, dabigatran was also associated with a lower risk of diabetes when compared with apixaban and rivaroxaban. Conclusions: Among adults with AF receiving OACs, the use of dabigatran had the lowest risk of diabetes when compared with warfarin use.

Original languageEnglish
Article number71
JournalCardiovascular Diabetology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2021


  • Anti-coagulant
  • Association
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Diabetes
  • DOAC
  • Epidemiology
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Warfarin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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