Background: Direct oral anticoagulants are available for patients with atrial fibrillation. Objective: This study compared adherence and persistence of once-daily (QD) vs twice-daily (BID) direct oral anticoagulants in patients with atrial fibrillation. Methods: A cohort study was conducted in three databases in the Netherlands, Italy and Germany. Patients with AF starting direct oral anticoagulants after drug approval date were included. The index date was the date of first dispensing. Study patients were restricted to those aged ≥ 18 years, ≥ 1 year database history and ≥ 1 year follow-up. Adherence to treatment was defined as the proportion of days covered ≥ 80% between the index date and the date of last dispensing of the index regimen (i.e. exposure period). The proportion of days covered was also determined during the 12-month follow-up. Persistence was defined as continuous use from index to treatment discontinuation. Results: In the Netherlands, Italy and Germany, respectively, 6068, 32,260 and 167,445 patients were included. The mean age of the patients was 70, 77 and 74 years, and 31%, 40% and 61% were QD users, all respectively. Among QD/BID users, 93/90%, 88/86% and 77/58%, respectively were adherent during the exposure period. Persistence rates at 1 year in QD/BID users were 60/59%, 13/14% and 46/31%, respectively. Conclusions: Adherence to treatment was high. In Germany, adherence was markedly higher in QD users compared with BID users. In Italy and the Netherlands, these differences were marginal. Persistence was low in all countries, but discontinuation was temporary. Only in Germany, persistence was markedly lower in BID users vs QD users.