Educational mailings sent to patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib) and their clinicians did not increase the use of stroke prevention drugs, according to research presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2020. 

AFib increases the risk of stroke in patients; however, the majority of these strokes can be prevented with an oral anticoagulant, which is underused by patients with AFib, according to the study. 

The IMPACT-AFib trial examined whether education on stroke prevention in AFib can spur health care providers and patients to increase the use of oral anticoagulants. The trial included 47,333 patients with an average age of 78 years. 

The study had a primary endpoint of the proportion of patients who started on an oral anticoagulation drug over the course of the 12-month trial. Patients included in the study were aged 30 years and older, had not been prescribed an anticoagulant in the past year, and had not been admitted to the hospital for bleeding in 6-months prior. 

Patients were then sorted into an education intervention group or usual care group, which acted as the control. The primary endpoint occurred in 9.89% of patients in the intervention group and 9.80 in the control group, making the adjusted odds ration 1.01. Educational mailing did not increase the uptake of stroke prevention drugs, according to the study. 

"Among a population with a guideline indication for oral anticoagulant[s] for stroke prevention with atrial fibrillation, there was no statistically significant difference in rates of oral anticoagulant initiation at one year with a single education intervention," study author Sean Pokorney, MD, said in the press release. 

Patients were more likely to start oral anticoagulants soon after the mailing was sent out. The researchers said that this may mean multiple mailings or further contact would be beneficial. 

Reference:

Educational mailing fails to improve medication use in patients with atrial fibrillation (Press release) Sophia Antipolis, France September 1, 2020 EurekAlert! Accessed September 3, 2020