BACKGROUND: Acute coronary syndromes arise from coronary atherosclerosis with superimposed thrombosis. Since factor Xa plays a central role in thrombosis, the inhibition of factor Xa with low-dose rivaroxaban might improve cardiovascular outcomes in patients with a recent acute coronary syndrome.
METHODS: In this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, we randomly assigned 15,526 patients with a recent acute coronary syndrome to receive twice-daily doses of either 2.5 mg or 5 mg of rivaroxaban or placebo for a mean of 13 months and up to 31 months. The primary efficacy end point was a composite of death from cardiovascular causes, myocardial infarction, or stroke.
RESULTS: Rivaroxaban significantly reduced the primary efficacy end point, as compared with placebo, with respective rates of 8.9% and 10.7% (hazard ratio in the rivaroxaban group, 0.84; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.74 to 0.96; P=0.008), with significant improvement for both the twice-daily 2.5-mg dose (9.1% vs. 10.7%, P=0.02) and the twice-daily 5-mg dose (8.8% vs. 10.7%, P=0.03). The twice-daily 2.5-mg dose of rivaroxaban reduced the rates of death from cardiovascular causes (2.7% vs. 4.1%, P=0.002) and from any cause (2.9% vs. 4.5%, P=0.002), a survival benefit that was not seen with the twice-daily 5-mg dose. As compared with placebo, rivaroxaban increased the rates of major bleeding not related to coronary-artery bypass grafting (2.1% vs. 0.6%, P<0.001) and intracranial hemorrhage (0.6% vs. 0.2%, P=0.009), without a significant increase in fatal bleeding (0.3% vs. 0.2%, P=0.66) or other adverse events. The twice-daily 2.5-mg dose resulted in fewer fatal bleeding events than the twice-daily 5-mg dose (0.1% vs. 0.4%, P=0.04).
CONCLUSIONS: In patients with a recent acute coronary syndrome, rivaroxaban reduced the risk of the composite end point of death from cardiovascular causes, myocardial infarction, or stroke. Rivaroxaban increased the risk of major bleeding and intracranial hemorrhage but not the risk of fatal bleeding. (Funded by Johnson & Johnson and Bayer Healthcare; ATLAS ACS 2-TIMI 51 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00809965.).