Objective To evaluate whether smoking status is associated with the efficacy of antiplatelet treatment in the prevention of cardiovascular events.
Design Systematic review, meta-analysis, and indirect comparisons.
Data sources Medline (1966 to present) and Embase (1974 to present), with supplementary searches in databases of abstracts from major cardiology conferences, the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health (CINAHL) and the CAB Abstracts databases, and Google Scholar.
Study selection Randomized trials of clopidogrel, prasugrel, or ticagrelor that examined clinical outcomes among subgroups of smokers and nonsmokers.
Data extraction Two authors independently extracted all data, including information on the patient populations included in the trials, treatment types and doses, definitions of clinical outcomes and duration of follow-up, definitions of smoking subgroups and number of patients in each group, and effect estimates and 95% confidence intervals for each smoking status subgroup.
Results Of nine eligible randomized trials, one investigated clopidogrel compared with aspirin, four investigated clopidogrel plus aspirin compared with aspirin alone, and one investigated double dose compared with standard dose clopidogrel; these trials include 74 489 patients, of whom 21 717 (29%) were smokers. Among smokers, patients randomized to clopidogrel experienced a 25% reduction in the primary composite clinical outcome of cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, and stroke compared with patients in the control groups (relative risk 0.75, 95% confidence interval 0.67 to 0.83). In nonsmokers, however, clopidogrel produced just an 8% reduction in the composite outcome (0.92, 0.87 to 0.98). Two studies investigated prasugrel plus aspirin compared with clopidogrel plus aspirin, and one study investigated ticagrelor plus aspirin compared with clopidogrel plus aspirin. In smokers, the relative risk was 0.71 (0.61 to 0.82) for prasugrel compared with clopidogrel and 0.83 (0.68 to 1.00) for ticagrelor compared with clopidogrel. Corresponding relative risks were 0.92 (0.83 to 1.01) and 0.89 (0.79 to 1.00) among nonsmokers.
Conclusions In randomized clinical trials of antiplatelet drugs, the reported clinical benefit of clopidogrel in reducing cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, and stroke was seen primarily in smokers, with little benefit in nonsmokers.