New oral anticoagulants (NOACs) aim to overcome warfarin's shortcomings, however their pharmacokinetic characteristics make prescribing complex. Thus it is imperative that general practitioners (GPs) are aware of specific treatments so as to maximise their benefits and minimise their pitfalls. This study explores GPs attitudes and experiences with prescribing NOACs in Ireland where, despite clear national prescribing guidelines advocating warfarin as first line therapy, the number of patients being prescribed NOACs for the first time is growing.
Using primary data collected from GPs in Ireland the factors influencing the likelihood of a GP initiating a prescription for a NOAC are determined using a probit model. Results indicate 46% of the sample initiated NOAC prescriptions and GP practice size is a significant factor influencing this. Analysis revealed no difference regarding the sources of information considered important amongst GPs when prescribing new drugs. However, there were differences in which factors were considered important when prescribing anticoagulants between initiating and non-initiating NOAC prescribers. The results of this study suggest better utilisation of existing information and education tools for GPs prescribing NOACs and managing NOAC patients is imperative, to ensure the right anticoagulant is prescribed for the right patient at the right time.