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1.  Collaborative meta-analysis of randomised trials of antiplatelet therapy for prevention of death, myocardial infarction, and stroke in high risk patients 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2002;324(7329):71-86.
To determine the effects of antiplatelet therapy among patients at high risk of occlusive vascular events.
Collaborative meta-analyses (systematic overviews).
Inclusion criteria
Randomised trials of an antiplatelet regimen versus control or of one antiplatelet regimen versus another in high risk patients (with acute or previous vascular disease or some other predisposing condition) from which results were available before September 1997. Trials had to use a method of randomisation that precluded prior knowledge of the next treatment to be allocated and comparisons had to be unconfounded—that is, have study groups that differed only in terms of antiplatelet regimen.
Studies reviewed
287 studies involving 135 000 patients in comparisons of antiplatelet therapy versus control and 77 000 in comparisons of different antiplatelet regimens.
Main outcome measure
“Serious vascular event”: non-fatal myocardial infarction, non-fatal stroke, or vascular death.
Overall, among these high risk patients, allocation to antiplatelet therapy reduced the combined outcome of any serious vascular event by about one quarter; non-fatal myocardial infarction was reduced by one third, non-fatal stroke by one quarter, and vascular mortality by one sixth (with no apparent adverse effect on other deaths). Absolute reductions in the risk of having a serious vascular event were 36 (SE 5) per 1000 treated for two years among patients with previous myocardial infarction; 38 (5) per 1000 patients treated for one month among patients with acute myocardial infarction; 36 (6) per 1000 treated for two years among those with previous stroke or transient ischaemic attack; 9 (3) per 1000 treated for three weeks among those with acute stroke; and 22 (3) per 1000 treated for two years among other high risk patients (with separately significant results for those with stable angina (P=0.0005), peripheral arterial disease (P=0.004), and atrial fibrillation (P=0.01)). In each of these high risk categories, the absolute benefits substantially outweighed the absolute risks of major extracranial bleeding. Aspirin was the most widely studied antiplatelet drug, with doses of 75-150 mg daily at least as effective as higher daily doses. The effects of doses lower than 75 mg daily were less certain. Clopidogrel reduced serious vascular events by 10% (4%) compared with aspirin, which was similar to the 12% (7%) reduction observed with its analogue ticlopidine. Addition of dipyridamole to aspirin produced no significant further reduction in vascular events compared with aspirin alone. Among patients at high risk of immediate coronary occlusion, short term addition of an intravenous glycoprotein IIb/IIIa antagonist to aspirin prevented a further 20 (4) vascular events per 1000 (P<0.0001) but caused 23 major (but rarely fatal) extracranial bleeds per 1000.
Aspirin (or another oral antiplatelet drug) is protective in most types of patient at increased risk of occlusive vascular events, including those with an acute myocardial infarction or ischaemic stroke, unstable or stable angina, previous myocardial infarction, stroke or cerebral ischaemia, peripheral arterial disease, or atrial fibrillation. Low dose aspirin (75-150 mg daily) is an effective antiplatelet regimen for long term use, but in acute settings an initial loading dose of at least 150 mg aspirin may be required. Adding a second antiplatelet drug to aspirin may produce additional benefits in some clinical circumstances, but more research into this strategy is needed.
What is already known on this topicAntiplatelet therapy is effective for short term treatment of patients with suspected acute myocardial infarction and unstable anginaLong term treatment is beneficial for patients who have had a myocardial infarction, stroke, or transient ischaemic attackDaily aspirin doses of 75-325 mg are effectiveWhat this study addsAntiplatelet therapy protects against vascular events among patients with stable angina, intermittent claudication, and (if oral anticoagulants are unsuitable) atrial fibrillationAntiplatelet therapy can be started promptly during acute presumed ischaemic stroke and continued long termDaily aspirin doses of 75-150 mg seem to be as effective as higher doses for long term treatments (and clopidrogel is an appropriate alternative for patients with a contraindication to aspirin)Short term addition of a glycoprotein IIb/IIIa antagonist to aspirin prevents vascular events in patients having percutaneous coronary intervention and those with unstable angina but causes increased bleeding
PMCID: PMC64503  PMID: 11786451
2.  Stroke: secondary prevention  
Clinical Evidence  2010;2010:0207.
People with a history of stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA) are at high risk of all vascular events, such as myocardial infarction (MI), but are at particular risk of subsequent stroke (about 10% in the first year and about 5% each year thereafter).
Methods and outcomes
We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of preventive non-surgical interventions in people with previous stroke or transient ischaemic attack? What are the effects of preventive surgical interventions in people with previous stroke or transient ischaemic attack? What are the effects of preventive anticoagulant and antiplatelet treatments in people with atrial fibrillation and previous stroke or transient ischaemic attack? What are the effects of preventive anticoagulant and antiplatelet treatments in people with atrial fibrillation and without previous stroke or transient ischaemic attack? What are the effects of preventive anticoagulant and antiplatelet treatments in people with atrial fibrillation and without previous stroke or transient ischaemic attack and with low to moderate risk of stroke or transient ischaemic attack? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library, and other important databases up to February 2009 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically; please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
We found 130 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.
In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: alternative antiplatelet regimens to aspirin, anticoagulation (oral dosing, or in those with sinus rhythm), aspirin (high or low dose), blood pressure reduction, carotid and vertebral percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA), carotid endarterectomy (in people with: asymptomatic but severe carotid artery stenosis, less than 0% symptomatic carotid artery stenosis, moderate [30%-49%] symptomatic carotid artery stenosis, moderately severe [50%-69%] symptomatic carotid artery stenosis, severe [greater than 70%] symptomatic carotid artery stenosis, or symptomatic near occlusion of the carotid artery), cholesterol reduction, vitamin B supplements (including folate), and different regimens to lower blood pressure.
Key Points
Prevention in this context is the long-term management of people with previous stroke or TIA, and of people at high risk of stroke for other reasons, such as atrial fibrillation. Risk factors for stroke include: previous stroke or TIA; increasing age; hypertension; diabetes; cigarette smoking; and emboli associated with atrial fibrillation, artificial heart valves, or MI.
Antiplatelet treatment effectively reduces the risk of stroke in people with previous stroke or TIA. High-dose aspirin (500-1500 mg/day) seems as equally effective as low-dose aspirin (75-150 mg/day), although it may increase GI adverse effects. Adding dipyridamole to aspirin is beneficial in reducing composite vascular end points and stroke compared with aspirin alone. Risk reduction appears greater with extended-release compared with immediate-release dipyridamole.The net risk of recurrent stroke or major haemorrhagic event is similar with clopidogrel and aspirin plus dipyridamole.
Treatments to reduce blood pressure are effective for reducing the risk of serious vascular events in people with previous stroke or TIA. Blood pressure reduction seems beneficial irrespective of the type of qualifying cerebrovascular event (ischaemic or haemorrhagic), or even whether people are hypertensive.Aggressive blood pressure lowering should not be considered in people with acute stenosis of the carotid or vertebral arteries, because of the risk of precipitating a stroke.
Carotid endarterectomy effectively reduces the risk of stroke in people with greater than 50% carotid stenosis, is not effective in people with 30% to 49% carotid stenosis, and increases the risk of stroke in people with less than 30% stenosis. However, it does not seem beneficial in people with near occlusion.
Cholesterol reduction using statins seems to reduce the risk of stroke irrespective of baseline cholesterol or coronary artery disease (CAD). Non-statin cholesterol reduction does not seem to reduce the risk of stroke.
We found insufficient evidence to judge the efficacy of carotid percutaneous transluminal angioplasty, carotid percutaneous transluminal angioplasty plus stenting, or vertebral percutaneous transluminal angioplasty in people with recent carotid or vertebral TIA or stenosis.
Vitamin B supplements (including folate) do not seem beneficial in reducing mortality or the risk of stroke.
Anticoagulation does not seem beneficial in reducing stroke in people with previous ischaemic stroke and normal sinus rhythm, but does increase the risk of intra- and extracranial haemorrhage. This is especially true for patients with TIAs or minor ischaemic stroke as the qualifying event.
In people with atrial fibrillation, oral anticoagulants reduce the risk of stroke in people with previous stroke or TIA, and in people with no previous stroke or TIA who are at high risk of stroke or TIA, but we don't know whether they are effective in people with no previous stroke or TIA who are at low risk of stroke or TIA. In people with atrial fibrillation, we don't know whether aspirin reduces the risk of stroke in people with previous stroke or TIA, or in people without previous stroke or TIA who are at low risk of stroke or TIA, but they may be unlikely to be effective in people without previous stroke or TIA who are at high risk of stroke or TIA.
PMCID: PMC2907594
3.  Collaborative overview of randomised trials of antiplatelet therapy--II: Maintenance of vascular graft or arterial patency by antiplatelet therapy. Antiplatelet Trialists' Collaboration. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1994;308(6922):159-168.
OBJECTIVE--To determine the efficacy of antiplatelet therapy in maintaining vascular patency in various categories of patients. DESIGN--Overviews of 46 randomised trials of antiplatelet therapy versus control and 14 randomised trials comparing one antiplatelet regimen with another. SETTING--Randomised trials that could have been available by March 1990 and in which vascular graft or arterial patency was to be studied systematically. SUBJECTS--About 8000 patients at varying degrees of risk of vascular occlusion (by virtue of disease or of having some vascular procedure) were in trials of antiplatelet therapy versus control and 4000 such patients were in trials directly comparing different antiplatelet regimens. RESULTS--Overall, antiplatelet therapy produced a highly significant (2P < 0.0001) reduction in vascular occlusion, with similar proportional reductions in several different types of patients. Hence the absolute reductions tended to be largest among patients at highest risk of occlusion, with smaller but still significant absolute reductions among lower risk patients. The proportions of patients with confirmed occlusion among those allocated antiplatelet therapy versus appropriately adjusted control proportions (and mean scheduled treatment durations and net absolute benefits) were: (a) among about 4000 patients with coronary artery grafts, 21% antiplatelet therapy v 30% control (seven month benefit about 90 patients protected per 1000 allocated antiplatelet therapy (2P < 0.00001)); (b) among about 800 patients after coronary angioplasty, 4% antiplatelet therapy v 8% control (six month benefit about 40/1000 (2P = 0.02)); (c) among about 3000 patients with peripheral artery procedures or disease, 16% antiplatelet therapy v 25% control (19 month benefit about 90/1000 (2P < 0.00001)); (d) among about 400 renal patients with a shunt or fistula placed for haemodialysis access, 17% antiplatelet therapy v 39% control (two month benefit about 200/1000 (2P < 0.00001)). Indirect comparisons between the effects of starting treatment before these vascular procedures and starting soon after them indicated similar sized benefits. As well as preventing subclinical occlusion, antiplatelet therapy produced a significant (2P = 0.002) reduction of about one quarter in the odds of suffering a "vascular event" (non-fatal myocardial infarction, non-fatal stroke, or vascular death). Various antiplatelet regimens (chiefly aspirin alone or aspirin plus dipyridamole) were studied but there was no significant evidence of differences between their effects on arterial occlusion or vascular events. Data on bleeding were incomplete but no large excess with antiplatelet therapy was apparent. CONCLUSION--Antiplatelet therapy (chiefly aspirin alone or aspirin plus dipyridamole) greatly reduces the risk of vascular occlusion in a wide range of patients at high risk of this complication. Further studies are required to determine exactly when treatment should start (to limit any perioperative bleeding while still preventing most early occlusion) and for how long it should be continued.
PMCID: PMC2542519  PMID: 8312766
4.  Triple antiplatelet therapy for preventing vascular events: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
BMC Medicine  2010;8:36.
Dual antiplatelet therapy is usually superior to mono therapy in preventing recurrent vascular events (VEs). This systematic review assesses the safety and efficacy of triple antiplatelet therapy in comparison with dual therapy in reducing recurrent vascular events.
Completed randomized controlled trials investigating the effect of triple versus dual antiplatelet therapy in patients with ischaemic heart disease (IHD), cerebrovascular disease or peripheral vascular disease were identified using electronic bibliographic searches. Data were extracted on composite VEs, myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, death and bleeding and analysed with Cochrane Review Manager software. Odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated using random effects models.
Twenty-five completed randomized trials (17,383 patients with IHD) were included which involving the use of intravenous (iv) GP IIb/IIIa inhibitors (abciximab, eptifibatide, tirofiban), aspirin, clopidogrel and/or cilostazol. In comparison with aspirin-based therapy, triple therapy using an intravenous GP IIb/IIIa inhibitor significantly reduced composite VEs and MI in patients with non-ST elevation acute coronary syndromes (NSTE-ACS) (VE: OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.55-0.86; MI: OR 0.70, 95% CI 0.56-0.88) and ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) (VE: OR 0.39, 95% CI 0.30-0.51; MI: OR 0.26, 95% CI 0.17-0.38). A significant reduction in death was also noted in STEMI patients treated with GP IIb/IIIa based triple therapy (OR 0.69, 95% CI 0.49-0.99). Increased minor bleeding was noted in STEMI and elective percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) patients treated with GP IIb/IIIa based triple therapy. Stroke events were too infrequent for us to be able to identify meaningful trends and no data were available for patients recruited into trials on the basis of stroke or peripheral vascular disease.
Triple antiplatelet therapy based on iv GPIIb/IIIa inhibitors was more effective than aspirin-based dual therapy in reducing VEs in patients with acute coronary syndromes (STEMI and NSTEMI). Minor bleeding was increased among STEMI and elective PCI patients treated with a GP IIb/IIIa based triple therapy. In patients undergoing elective PCI, triple therapy had no beneficial effect and was associated with an 80% increase in transfusions and an eightfold increase in thrombocytopenia. Insufficient data exist for patients with prior ischaemic stroke and peripheral vascular disease and further research is needed in these groups of patients.
PMCID: PMC2893089  PMID: 20553581
5.  Antiplatelet therapy in populations at high risk of atherothrombosis. 
Atherothrombosis is the most common cause of an acute ischemic event. Antiplatelet agents form the cornerstone of atherothrombosis prevention. The purpose of this article is to review the use of antiplatelet agents in patients that are at particularly high risk of atherothrombotic events. To undertake this review, we searched the literature to identify key studies on the use of antiplatelet agents in this group of patients. Antiplatelet agents, such as aspirin and clopidogrel, play a fundamental role in the treatment and management of secondary thrombotic events. The routine use of aspirin is recommended, as it has been shown to reduce the risk of thrombotic events by approximately 25%. Additional benefit has been demonstrated with clopidogrel, both as a monotherapy and in combination with aspirin. In the CAPRIE trial, 19,185 patients with atherosclerotic vascular disease were randomized to receive clopidogrel (75 mg/day) or aspirin (325 mg/day) for a mean duration of follow-up of 1.91 years. Clopidogrel provided an additional 8.7% relative risk reduction in the primary composite endpoint of ischemic stroke, myocardial infraction or vascular death compared with aspirin. In the CURE trial, the addition of clopidogrel to background aspirin was associated with a 20% relative risk reduction in a composite of death from cardiovascular causes, nonfatal myocardial infarction or stroke compared with aspirin alone. In patients undergoing PCI as part of the PCI-CURE substudy, clopidogrel was associated with a 30% relative reduction in the incidence of cardiovascular events in the first 30 days after intervention compared with aspirin. The benefits of antiplatelet therapy continue to be investigated. Whether dual antiplatelet therapy is superior to aspirin monotherapy for high-risk primary prevention is unknown. The ongoing CHARISMA trial aims to determine the relative efficacies of aspirin monotherapy and aspirin/clopidogrel combination therapy in a broad range of high-risk patient populations. In addition, the REACH registry, a worldwide survey of symptomatic and high-risk patients, has been set up to provide vital epidemiological information regarding the risks of atherothrombosis in order to contribute to the development of better preventive strategies and management regimens for at-risk patients.
PMCID: PMC2569272  PMID: 16749646
6.  Efficacy and safety of 12 versus 48 months of dual antiplatelet therapy after implantation of a drug-eluting stent: the OPTImal DUAL antiplatelet therapy (OPTIDUAL) trial: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial 
Trials  2013;14:56.
Dual antiplatelet therapy with aspirin and thienopyridine is required after placement of coronary drug-eluting stents (DES) to prevent thrombotic complications. Current clinical guidelines recommend at least 6 to 12 months of treatment after a DES implantation, but it may be beneficial to apply dual antiplatelet therapy for a longer duration.
The optimal dual antiplatelet therapy (OPTIDUAL) study aims to compare the benefits and risks of dual antiplatelet therapy applied for either 12 or 48 months. We will examine the occurrence of major adverse cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events (MACCE) in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention with DES for the treatment of coronary lesions. The OPTIDUAL study is an open-label multicenter, randomized, national trial that will include 1,966 patients treated with DES. All patients will be treated with dual antiplatelet therapy for 12 months (+/− 3). Then, patients with no MACCE or major bleeding will be randomized to receive either 36 additional months of clopidogrel plus aspirin or aspirin only. The primary end-point is the combination of death from all causes, myocardial infarction, stroke and major bleeding. The secondary end points include the individual components of the primary end-point, stent thrombosis, repeat revascularization of the treated vessel and minor bleeding.
This randomized trial is designed to assess the benefits and safety of 12 versus 48 months of dual antiplatelet therapy in patients that receive a DES. We aim to determine whether substantial prolongation of clopidogrel (a thienopyridine) after DES implantation offers an advantage over its discontinuation.
Trial registration Identifier: NCT00822536
PMCID: PMC3598827  PMID: 23433461
Drug-eluting stent; Clopidogrel; Coronary artery disease; Stent thrombosis; Randomized clinical trial
7.  Antiplatelet Agents for Stroke Prevention 
Neurotherapeutics  2011;8(3):475-487.
Stroke is one of the leading causes of disability and death. Ischemic stroke is a syndrome with heterogeneous mechanisms and multiple etiologies, rather than a singularly defined disease. Approximately one third of ischemic strokes are preceded by another cerebrovascular ischemic event. Stroke survivors are at high risk of vascular events (i.e., cerebrovascular and cardiovascular events), particularly during the first several months after the ischemic event. The use of antiplatelet agents remains the fundamental component of secondary stroke prevention. Based on the available data, antiplatelet agents should be used for patients with noncardioembolic stroke. The use of combination therapy (aspirin plus clopidogrel) has not been proven to be effective or safe to use for prevention of early stroke recurrence or in long-term treatment. There is no convincing evidence that any of the available antiplatelet agents are superior for a given stroke subtype. Currently, the uses of aspirin, clopidogrel, or aspirin combined with extended release dipyridamole are all valid alternatives after an ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack. However, to maximize the effects of these agents, the treatment should be initiated as early as possible and be continued on a lifelong basis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13311-011-0060-2) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3250274  PMID: 21761240
Stoke; Prevention; Antiplatelets; Clinical trials; Aspirin; Clopidogrel; Dipyridamole
8.  Initial 3-Weeks’ Apixaban Versus Dual-Antiplatelet Therapy (Clopidogrel and Aspirin) Followed by Clopidogrel Alone in High-Risk Patients with Acute Non-Disabling Cerebrovascular Events (ADANCE): Study Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial 
Clinical Drug Investigation  2014;34(11):755-761.
Nondisabling cerebrovascular events represent the largest group of cerebrovascular disease with a high risk of recurrent stroke. A recent trial demonstrated that dual-antiplatelet therapy (clopidogrel and aspirin), compared with aspirin monotherapy, reduced the risk of recurrent stroke and was not associated with increased risk of hemorrhagic events. Apixaban, a new oral anticoagulant, has been proven to be as safe and effective as traditional anticoagulants while carrying significantly less risk of intracranial hemorrhage. Patients with transient ischemic attack (TIA)/minor stroke might benefit from apixaban treatment; therefore, an adequately powered randomized study is needed.
Methods and Results
The ADANCE [Apixaban Versus Dual-antiplatelet Therapy (Clopidogrel and Aspirin) in Acute Non-disabling Cerebrovascular Events] study is a randomized, double-blind clinical trial with a target enrollment of 5,500 patients. A 21-day regimen of apixaban or of clopidogrel with aspirin followed by clopidogrel on days 22 through 90 will be administered to randomized participants with acute TIA or minor ischemic stroke. The primary efficacy endpoint is the percentage of patients with any new stroke (ischemic or hemorrhage), including fatal stroke, at day 21. Study visits will be performed on the day of randomization, and at days 7, 22, and 90.
The novel oral anticoagulant apixaban has been widely used with fewer adverse effects than traditional anticoagulants. We designed the ADANCE trial to observe the effects of apixaban on recurrent stroke after TIA or minor stroke. The results should better guide the selection of anticoagulant or dual-antiplatelet therapy for patients with acute TIA or minor ischemic stroke.
PMCID: PMC4210645  PMID: 25200142
9.  Effects of Clopidogrel Added to Aspirin in Patients with Recent Lacunar Stroke 
The New England journal of medicine  2012;367(9):817-825.
Lacunar infarcts are a frequent type of stroke caused mainly by cerebral small-vessel disease. The effectiveness of antiplatelet therapy for secondary prevention has not been defined.
We conducted a double-blind, multicenter trial involving 3020 patients with recent symptomatic lacunar infarcts identified by magnetic resonance imaging. Patients were randomly assigned to receive 75 mg of clopidogrel or placebo daily; patients in both groups received 325 mg of aspirin daily. The primary outcome was any recurrent stroke, including ischemic stroke and intracranial hemorrhage.
The participants had a mean age of 63 years, and 63% were men. After a mean follow-up of 3.4 years, the risk of recurrent stroke was not significantly reduced with aspirin and clopidogrel (dual antiplatelet therapy) (125 strokes; rate, 2.5% per year) as compared with aspirin alone (138 strokes, 2.7% per year) (hazard ratio, 0.92; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.72 to 1.16), nor was the risk of recurrent ischemic stroke (hazard ratio, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.63 to 1.09) or disabling or fatal stroke (hazard ratio, 1.06; 95% CI, 0.69 to 1.64). The risk of major hemorrhage was almost doubled with dual antiplatelet therapy (105 hemorrhages, 2.1% per year) as compared with aspirin alone (56, 1.1% per year) (hazard ratio, 1.97; 95% CI, 1.41 to 2.71; P<0.001). Among classifiable recurrent ischemic strokes, 71% (133 of 187) were lacunar strokes. All-cause mortality was increased among patients assigned to receive dual antiplatelet therapy (77 deaths in the group receiving aspirin alone vs. 113 in the group receiving dual antiplatelet therapy) (hazard ratio, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.14 to 2.04; P = 0.004); this difference was not accounted for by fatal hemorrhages (9 in the group receiving dual antiplatelet therapy vs. 4 in the group receiving aspirin alone).
Among patients with recent lacunar strokes, the addition of clopidogrel to aspirin did not significantly reduce the risk of recurrent stroke and did significantly increase the risk of bleeding and death. (Funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and others; SPS3 number, NCT00059306.)
PMCID: PMC4067036  PMID: 22931315
10.  Clinical importance of aspirin and clopidogrel resistance 
World Journal of Cardiology  2010;2(7):171-186.
Aspirin and clopidogrel are important components of medical therapy for patients with acute coronary syndromes, for those who received coronary artery stents and in the secondary prevention of ischaemic stroke. Despite their use, a significant number of patients experience recurrent adverse ischaemic events. Interindividual variability of platelet aggregation in response to these antiplatelet agents may be an explanation for some of these recurrent events, and small trials have linked “aspirin and/or clopidogrel resistance”, as measured by platelet function tests, to adverse events. We systematically reviewed all available evidence on the prevalence of aspirin/clopidogrel resistance, their possible risk factors and their association with clinical outcomes. We also identified articles showing possible treatments. After analyzing the data on different laboratory methods, we found that aspirin/clopidogrel resistance seems to be associated with poor clinical outcomes and there is currently no standardized or widely accepted definition of clopidogrel resistance. Therefore, we conclude that specific treatment recommendations are not established for patients who exhibit high platelet reactivity during aspirin/clopidogrel therapy or who have poor platelet inhibition by clopidogrel.
PMCID: PMC2998916  PMID: 21160749
Aspirin; Clopidogrel; Antiplatelet agent; Aspirin resistance; Clopidogrel resistance; Cardiovascular outcome; Platelet aggregation
11.  Collaborative overview of randomised trials of antiplatelet therapy--I: Prevention of death, myocardial infarction, and stroke by prolonged antiplatelet therapy in various categories of patients. Antiplatelet Trialists' Collaboration. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1994;308(6921):81-106.
OBJECTIVE--To determine the effects of "prolonged" antiplatelet therapy (that is, given for one month or more) on "vascular events" (non-fatal myocardial infarctions, non-fatal strokes, or vascular deaths) in various categories of patients. DESIGN--Overviews of 145 randomised trials of "prolonged" antiplatelet therapy versus control and 29 randomised comparisons between such antiplatelet regimens. SETTING--Randomised trials that could have been available by March 1990. SUBJECTS--Trials of antiplatelet therapy versus control included about 70,000 "high risk" patients (that is, with some vascular disease or other condition implying an increased risk of occlusive vascular disease) and 30,000 "low risk" subjects from the general population. Direct comparisons of different antiplatelet regimens involved about 10,000 high risk patients. RESULTS--In each of four main high risk categories of patients antiplatelet therapy was definitely protective. The percentages of patients suffering a vascular event among those allocated antiplatelet therapy versus appropriately adjusted control percentages (and mean scheduled treatment durations and net absolute benefits) were: (a) among about 20,000 patients with acute myocardial infarction, 10% antiplatelet therapy v 14% control (one month benefit about 40 vascular events avoided per 1000 patients treated (2P < 0.00001)); (b) among about 20,000 patients with a past history of myocardial infarction, 13% antiplatelet therapy v 17% control (two year benefit about 40/1000 (2P < 0.00001)); (c) among about 10,000 patients with a past history of stroke or transient ischaemic attack, 18% antiplatelet therapy v 22% control (three year benefit about 40/1000 (2P < 0.00001)); (d) among about 20,000 patients with some other relevant medical history (unstable angina, stable angina, vascular surgery, angioplasty, atrial fibrillation, valvular disease, peripheral vascular disease, etc), 9% v 14% in 4000 patients with unstable angina (six month benefit about 50/1000 (2P < 0.00001)) and 6% v 8% in 16,000 other high risk patients (one year benefit about 20/1000 (2P < 0.00001)). Reductions in vascular events were about one quarter in each of these four main categories and were separately statistically significant in middle age and old age, in men and women, in hypertensive and normotensive patients, and in diabetic and nondiabetic patients. Taking all high risk patients together showed reductions of about one third in non-fatal myocardial infarction, about one third in non-fatal stroke, and about one third in vascular death (each 2P < 0.00001). There was no evidence that non-vascular deaths were increased, so in each of the four main high risk categories overall mortality was significantly reduced. The most widely tested antiplatelet regimen was "medium dose" (75-325 mg/day) aspirin. Doses throughout this range seemed similarly effective (although in an acute emergency it might be prudent to use an initial dose of 160-325 mg rather than about 75 mg). There was no appreciable evidence that either a higher aspirin dose or any other antiplatelet regimen was more effective than medium dose aspirin in preventing vascular events. The optimal duration of treatment for patients with a past history of myocardial infarction, stroke, or transient ischaemic attack could not be determined directly because most trials lasted only one, two, or three years (average about two years). Nevertheless, there was significant (2P < 0.0001) further benefit between the end of year 1 and the end of year 3, suggesting that longer treatment might well be more effective. Among low risk recipients of "primary prevention" a significant reduction of one third in non-fatal myocardial infarction was, however, accompanied by a non-significant increase in stroke. Furthermore, the absolute reduction in vascular events was much smaller than for high risk patients despite a much longer treatment period (4.4% antiplatelet therapy v 4.8% control; five year
PMCID: PMC2539220  PMID: 8298418
12.  Effects of aspirin plus extended-release dipyridamole versus clopidogrel and telmisartan on disability and cognitive function after recurrent stroke in patients with ischaemic stroke in the Prevention Regimen for Effectively Avoiding Second Strokes (PRoFESS) trial: a double-blind, active and placebo-controlled study 
Lancet neurology  2008;7(10):875-884.
The treatment of ischaemic stroke with neuroprotective drugs has been unsuccessful, and whether these compounds can be used to reduce disability after recurrent stroke is unknown. The putative neuroprotective effects of antiplatelet compounds and the angiotensin II receptor antagonist telmisartan were investigated in the Prevention Regimen for Effectively Avoiding Second Strokes (PRoFESS) trial.
Patients who had had an ischaemic stroke were randomly assigned in a two by two factorial design to receive either 25 mg aspirin (ASA) and 200 mg extended-release dipyridamole (ER-DP) twice a day or 75 mg clopidogrel once a day, and either 80 mg telmisartan or placebo once per day. The predefined endpoints for this substudy were disability after a recurrent stroke, assessed with the modified Rankin scale (mRS) and Barthel index at 3 months, and cognitive function, assessed with the mini-mental state examination (MMSE) score at 4 weeks after randomisation and at the penultimate visit. Analysis was by intention to treat. The study was registered with, number NTC00153062.
20 332 patients (mean age 66 years) were randomised and followed-up for a median of 2·4 years. Recurrent strokes occurred in 916 (9%) patients randomly assigned to ASA with ER-DP and 898 (9%) patients randomly assigned to clopidogrel; 880 (9%) patients randomly assigned to telmisartan and 934 (9%) patients given placebo had recurrent strokes. mRS scores were not statistically different in patients with recurrent stroke who were treated with ASA and ER-DP versus clopidogrel (p=0·38), or with telmisartan versus placebo (p=0·61). There was no significant difference in the proportion of patients with recurrent stroke with a good outcome, as measured with the Barthel index, across all treatment groups. Additionally, there was no significant difference in the median MMSE scores, the percentage of patients with an MMSE score of 24 points or less, the percentage of patients with a drop in MMSE score of 3 points or more between 1 month and the penultimate visit, and the number of patients with dementia among the treatment groups. There were no significant differences in the proportion of patients with cognitive impairment or dementia among the treatment groups.
Disability due to recurrent stroke and cognitive decline in patients with ischaemic stroke were not different between the two antiplatelet regimens and were not affected by the preventive use of telmisartan.
Boehringer Ingelheim; Bayer-Schering Pharma (in selected countries); GlaxoSmithKline (in selected countries).
PMCID: PMC2772657  PMID: 18757238
13.  Low risk of rebound events after a short course of clopidogrel in acute TIA or minor stroke 
Neurology  2010;74(23):1891-1896.
The combination of aspirin and clopidogrel is indicated after acute coronary events and possibly for a short period after TIA or minor ischemic stroke. Early discontinuation of clopidogrel results in a transient rebound increase in risk of recurrence in acute coronary syndromes, but there are no published data on any similar rebound effect in patients with TIA or stroke that might inform the design of clinical trials of aspirin and clopidogrel in the acute phase.
A 30-day course of aspirin and clopidogrel (both 75 mg daily) was given to high-risk patients with TIA or minor ischemic stroke seen acutely in the EXPRESS study clinic from April 1, 2002, to March 31, 2009. Clopidogrel was stopped after 30 days and aspirin continued. Recurrent events were ascertained at face-to-face follow-up.
A total of 320 patients were prescribed a 30-day course of aspirin and clopidogrel acutely after TIA or minor stroke. There were 5 recurrent ischemic strokes and 7 TIAs during the aspirin and clopidogrel treatment period, but no strokes and 4 TIAs during the 30 days after stopping clopidogrel. A similar temporal trend in stroke risk was seen in the 487 patients prescribed aspirin alone in the acute phase, with 12 and 5 strokes in the equivalent time periods. The upper 95% confidence intervals of the observed 0% risk of stroke during the 30 days after stopping clopidogrel was 1.15% overall.
Although larger studies are required, our findings suggest there is unlikely to be a large rebound effect after discontinuation of a 30-day course of clopidogrel in acute TIA and minor ischemic stroke. However, planned trials of aspirin and clopidogrel in the acute phase after TIA or stroke should still follow-up beyond the cessation of clopidogrel treatment.
= acute coronary syndrome;
= confidence interval;
= NIH Stroke Scale;
= non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction;
= Oxford Vascular study;
= ST-elevation myocardial infarction.
PMCID: PMC2882223  PMID: 20530325
14.  Aspirin and Extended-Release Dipyridamole versus Clopidogrel for Recurrent Stroke 
The New England journal of medicine  2008;359(12):1238-1251.
Recurrent stroke is a frequent, disabling event after ischemic stroke. This study compared the efficacy and safety of two antiplatelet regimens — aspirin plus extendedrelease dipyridamole (ASA–ERDP) versus clopidogrel.
In this double-blind, 2-by-2 factorial trial, we randomly assigned patients to receive 25 mg of aspirin plus 200 mg of extended-release dipyridamole twice daily or to receive 75 mg of clopidogrel daily. The primary outcome was first recurrence of stroke. The secondary outcome was a composite of stroke, myocardial infarction, or death from vascular causes. Sequential statistical testing of noninferiority (margin of 1.075), followed by superiority testing, was planned.
A total of 20,332 patients were followed for a mean of 2.5 years. Recurrent stroke occurred in 916 patients (9.0%) receiving ASA–ERDP and in 898 patients (8.8%) receiving clopidogrel (hazard ratio, 1.01; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.92 to 1.11). The secondary outcome occurred in 1333 patients (13.1%) in each group (hazard ratio for ASA–ERDP, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.92 to 1.07). There were more major hemorrhagic events among ASA–ERDP recipients (419 [4.1%]) than among clopidogrel recipients (365 [3.6%]) (hazard ratio, 1.15; 95% CI, 1.00 to 1.32), including intracranial hemorrhage (hazard ratio, 1.42; 95% CI, 1.11 to 1.83). The net risk of recurrent stroke or major hemorrhagic event was similar in the two groups (1194 ASA–ERDP recipients [11.7%], vs. 1156 clopidogrel recipients [11.4%]; hazard ratio, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.95 to 1.11).
The trial did not meet the predefined criteria for noninferiority but showed similar rates of recurrent stroke with ASA–ERDP and with clopidogrel. There is no evidence that either of the two treatments was superior to the other in the prevention of recurrent stroke.
PMCID: PMC2714259  PMID: 18753638
15.  Impact of antiplatelet treatment on colorectal cancer staging characteristics 
AIM: To evaluate whether antiplatelet medication leads to an earlier stage colorectal cancer (CRC) diagnosis.
METHODS: From January 2002 until March 2010, patients that presented to our institution with the initial diagnosis of CRC and were submitted to an open curative CRC resection or a palliative procedure were retrospectively reviewed. Exclusion criteria were the use of antithrombotic medication, i.e., coumarins, and appendiceal malignancies. Data acquired from medical files included age, gender, past medical history, antithrombotic treatment received prior to endoscopic diagnosis, preoperative imaging staging, location of the tumor, surgical and final histopathological report. Patients that did not receive any antithrombotic medication prior to the endoscopic diagnosis comprised the control group of the study, while patients that were on antiplatelet medication comprised the antiplatelet group. Primary end point was a comparison of CRC stage in the two groups of the study. CRC presenting symptoms and the incidence of each cancer stage in the two groups were also evaluated.
RESULTS: A total of 387 patients with the diagnosis of CRC were submitted to our department for further surgical treatment. Ninety-eight patients (25.32%), with a median age of 71 years (range 52-91 years), were included in the antiplatelet group, while 289 (74.67%) patients, with a median age of 67 years (range 41-90 years), were not in any thrombosis prophylaxis medication (control group). Thirty-one patients were treated with some kind of palliative procedure, either endoscopic, such as endoscopic stent placement, or surgical, such as de-compressive colostomy or deviation. Coronary disease (77.55% - 76 patients), stroke recurrence prevention (14.28% - 14 patients) and peripheral arterial disease (8.16% - 8 patients) were the indications for the administration of antiplatelet treatment (aspirin, clopidogrel, ticlopidine or dipyridamole) in the antiplatelet group. All patients on aspirin treatment received a dosage of 100 mg/d, while the minimum prophylactic dosages were also used for the rest of the antiplatelet drugs. Investigation of an iron deficiency anemia (147 patients), per rectum blood loss (84 patients), bowel obstruction and/or perforation (81 patients), bowel habits alterations (32 patients), non-specific symptoms, such as weight loss, intermittent abdominal pain and fatigue, (22 patients) or population screening (21 patients) were the indications for the endoscopic investigation in both groups. Bleeding, either chronic presenting as anemia or acute was significantly higher (P = 0.002) for the antiplatelet arm of the study (71 patients - 72.4% of the antiplatelet group vs 160 patients - 55.3% of the control group). The mean tumor, node and metastasis stage was 2.57 ± 0.96 for the control group, 2.27 ± 0.93 for the antiplatelet group (P = 0.007) and 2.19 ± 0.92 for the subgroup of patients taking aspirin (P = 0.003). The incidence of advanced disease (stage IV) was lower for the antiplatelet group of the study (P = 0.033).
CONCLUSION: The adverse effect of bleeding that is justifiably attached to this drug category seems to have a favorable impact on the staging characteristics of CRC.
PMCID: PMC3487189  PMID: 23125899
Colorectal cancer; Antiplatelets; Cancer stage; Abdominal surgery; Colonoscopy
16.  New oral anticoagulants in addition to single or dual antiplatelet therapy after an acute coronary syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
European Heart Journal  2013;34(22):1670-1680.
Oral anticoagulation in addition to antiplatelet treatment after an acute coronary syndrome might reduce ischaemic events but increase bleeding risk. We performed a meta-analysis to evaluate the efficacy and safety of adding direct thrombin or factor-Xa inhibition by any of the novel oral anticoagulants (apixaban, dabigatran, darexaban, rivaroxaban, and ximelagatran) to single (aspirin) or dual (aspirin and clopidogrel) antiplatelet therapy in this setting.
Methods and results
All seven published randomized, placebo-controlled phase II and III studies of novel oral anticoagulants in acute coronary syndromes were included. The database consisted of 30 866 patients, 4135 (13.4%) on single, and 26 731 (86.6%) on dual antiplatelet therapy, with a non-ST- or ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome within the last 7–14 days. We defined major adverse cardiovascular events (MACEs) as the composite of all-cause mortality, myocardial infarction, or stroke; and clinically significant bleeding as the composite of major and non-major bleeding requiring medical attention according to the study definitions. When compared with aspirin alone the combination of an oral anticoagulant and aspirin reduced the incidence of MACE [hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence interval 0.70; 0.59–0.84], but increased clinically significant bleeding (HR: 1.79; 1.54–2.09). Compared with dual antiplatelet therapy with aspirin and clopidogrel, adding an oral anticoagulant decreased the incidence of MACE modestly (HR: 0.87; 0.80–0.95), but more than doubled the bleeding (HR: 2.34; 2.06–2.66). Heterogeneity between studies was low, and results were similar when restricting the analysis to phase III studies.
In patients with a recent acute coronary syndrome, the addition of a new oral anticoagulant to antiplatelet therapy results in a modest reduction in cardiovascular events but a substantial increase in bleeding, most pronounced when new oral anticoagulants are combined with dual antiplatelet therapy.
PMCID: PMC3675388  PMID: 23470494
Oral anticoagulants; Antiplatelet therapy; Acute coronary syndrome; Myocardial infarction; Meta-analysis
17.  Is clopidogrel better than aspirin following breakthrough strokes while on aspirin? A retrospective cohort study 
BMJ Open  2014;4(12):e006672.
There is insufficient evidence on which to base a recommendation for optimal antiplatelet therapy following a stroke while on aspirin. The objective was to compare clopidogrel initiation vs aspirin reinitiation for vascular risk reduction among patients with ischaemic stroke on aspirin at the time of their index stroke.
We conducted a nationwide cohort study by retrieving all hospitalised patients (≥18 years) with a primary diagnosis of ischaemic stroke between 2003 and 2009 from Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database.
Among 3862 patients receiving aspirin before the index ischaemic stroke and receiving either aspirin or clopidogrel after index stroke during follow-up period, 1623 were excluded due to a medication possession ratio <80%. Also, 355 were excluded due to history of atrial fibrillation, valvular heart disease or coagulopathy. Therefore, 1884 patients were included in our final analysis.
Patients were categorised into two groups based on whether clopidogrel or aspirin was prescribed during the follow-up period. Follow-up was from time of the index stroke to admission for recurrent stroke or myocardial infarction, death or the end of 2010.
Primary and secondary outcome measures
The primary end point was hospitalisation due to a new-onset major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE: composite of any stroke or myocardial infarction). The leading secondary end point was any recurrent stroke.
Compared to aspirin, clopidogrel was associated with a lower occurrence of future MACE (HR=0.54, 95% CI 0.43 to 0.68, p<0.001, number needed to treat: 8) and recurrent stroke (HR=0.54, 95% CI 0.42 to 0.69, p<0.001, number needed to treat: 9) after adjustment of relevant covariates.
Among patients with an ischaemic stroke while taking aspirin, clopidogrel initiation was associated with fewer recurrent vascular events than aspirin reinitiation.
PMCID: PMC4256539  PMID: 25468508
18.  Dual Antiplatelet Therapy after Noncardioembolic Ischemic Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack: Pros and Cons 
Dual antiplatelet therapy simultaneously blocks different platelet activation pathways and might thus be more potent at inhibiting platelet activation and more effective at reducing major ischemic vascular events compared to antiplatelet monotherapy. Aspirin plus clopidogrel dual therapy is now the standard therapy for patients with acute coronary syndrome and for those undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention. However, dual antiplatelet therapy carries an increased risk of bleeding. Patients with ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) are generally older and likely to have a fragile cerebrovascular bed, which further increases the risk of systemic major bleeding events and intracranial hemorrhage. Clinical trials and meta-analyses suggest that in comparison to antiplatelet monotherapy, dual antiplatelet therapy initiated early after noncardioembolic ischemic stroke or TIA further reduces the rate of recurrent stroke and major vascular events without significantly increasing the rate of major bleeding events. In contrast, studies of long-term therapy in patients with noncardioembolic ischemic stroke or TIA have yielded inconsistent data regarding the benefit of dual antiplatelet therapy over monotherapy. However, the harm associated with major bleeding events, including intracranial hemorrhage, which is generally more disabling and more fatal than ischemic stroke, is likely to increase with dual antiplatelet therapy. Physicians should carefully assess the benefits and risks of dual antiplatelet therapy versus antiplatelet monotherapy when managing patients with ischemic stroke or TIA.
PMCID: PMC4101094  PMID: 25045370
ischemic stroke; TIA; dual antiplatelet therapy
19.  RApid Primary care Initiation of Drug treatment for Transient Ischaemic Attack (RAPID−TIA): study protocol for a pilot randomised controlled trial 
Trials  2013;14:194.
People who have a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or minor stroke are at high risk of a recurrent stroke, particularly in the first week after the event. Early initiation of secondary prevention drugs is associated with an 80% reduction in risk of stroke recurrence. This raises the question as to whether these drugs should be given before being seen by a specialist – that is, in primary care or in the emergency department. The aims of the RAPID-TIA pilot trial are to determine the feasibility of a randomised controlled trial, to analyse cost effectiveness and to ask: Should general practitioners and emergency doctors (primary care physicians) initiate secondary preventative measures in addition to aspirin in people they see with suspected TIA or minor stroke at the time of referral to a specialist?
This is a pilot randomised controlled trial with a sub-study of accuracy of primary care physician diagnosis of TIA. In the pilot trial, we aim to recruit 100 patients from 30 general practices (including out-of-hours general practice centres) and 1 emergency department whom the primary care physician diagnoses with TIA or minor stroke and randomly assign them to usual care (that is, initiation of aspirin and referral to a TIA clinic) or usual care plus additional early initiation of secondary prevention drugs (a blood-pressure lowering protocol, simvastatin 40 mg and dipyridamole 200 mg m/r bd). The primary outcome of the main study will be the number of strokes at 90 days. The diagnostic accuracy sub-study will include these 100 patients and an additional 70 patients in whom the primary care physician thinks the diagnosis of TIA is possible, rather than probable. For the pilot trial, we will report recruitment rate, follow-up rate, a preliminary estimate of the primary event rate and occurrence of any adverse events. For the diagnostic study, we will calculate sensitivity and specificity of primary care physician diagnosis using the final TIA clinic diagnosis as the reference standard.
This pilot study will be used to estimate key parameters that are needed to design the main study and to estimate the accuracy of primary care diagnosis of TIA. The planned follow-on trial will have important implications for the initial management of people with suspected TIA.
Trial registration
PMCID: PMC3716929  PMID: 23819476
20.  The Efficacy and Adverse Reaction of Bleeding of Clopidogrel plus Aspirin as Compared to Aspirin Alone after Stroke or TIA: A Systematic Review 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65754.
Background and Purpose
Given the high risk of stroke after TIA (transient ischemia attack) or stroke and the adverse reaction of bleeding of antiplatelets, we undertook a meta-analysis, reviewed randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing aspirin plus clopidogrel with aspirin alone to determine the efficacy and adverse reaction of bleeding of the two protocols in the prevention of stroke.
We analyzed the incidences of stroke, bleeding and severe bleeding by using fixed-effect model or random-effect model on the basis of the result of heterogeneity test.
Five qualified RCTs satisfied the inclusion criteria. We found that treatment with aspirin plus clopidogrel was associated with lower incidence of stroke (Risk Ratio (RR), 0.66, 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.47 to 0.93), higher incidence of bleeding (RR, 1.75, 95% CI, 1.48 to 2.05) as compared with aspirin-alone treatment. In terms of severe bleeding, no statistical difference existed between them (RR, 2.21, 95% CI, 0.25 to 19.52).
The combined use of aspirin and clopidogrel is more effective than aspirin alone for patients with previous TIA or stroke for the prevention of stroke, with risk of bleeding being higher. No statistical difference was found in severe bleeding between the two treatment protocols.
PMCID: PMC3688690  PMID: 23840362
21.  The Secondary Prevention of Small Subcortical Strokes (SPS3) study 
Small subcortical strokes, also known as lacunar strokes, comprise more than 25% of brain infarcts, and the underlying vasculopathy is the most common cause of vascular cognitive impairment. How to optimally prevent stroke recurrence and cognitive decline in S3 patients is unclear. The aim of the Secondary Prevention of Small Subcortical Strokes study (Trial registration: NCT00059306) is to define strategies for reducing stroke recurrence, cognitive decline, and major vascular events.
Secondary Prevention of Small Subcortical Strokes is a randomised, multicentre clinical trial (n = 3000) being conducted in seven countries, and sponsored by the US NINDS/NIH. Patients with symptomatic small subcortical strokes in the six-months before and an eligible lesion on magnetic resonance imaging are simultaneously randomised, in a 2 × 2 factorial design, to antiplatelet therapy – 325 mg aspirin daily plus 75 mg clopidogrel daily, vs. 325 mg aspirin daily plus placebo, double-blind – and to one of two levels of systolic blood pressure targets –‘intensive’ (<130 mmHg) vs. ‘usual’ (130–149 mmHg). Participants are followed for an average of four-years. Time to recurrent stroke (ischaemic or haemorrhagic) is the primary outcome and will be analysed separately for each intervention. The secondary outcomes are the rate of cognitive decline and major vascular events. The primary and most secondary outcomes are adjudicated centrally by those unaware of treatment assignment.
Secondary Prevention of Small Subcortical Strokes will address several important clinical and scientific questions by testing two interventions in patients with recent magnetic resonance imaging-defined lacunar infarcts, which are likely due to small vessel disease. The results will inform the management of millions of patients with this common vascular disorder.
PMCID: PMC4214141  PMID: 21371282
antiplatelet therapy; hypertension; lacunar stroke; randomised clinical trial; SPS3
22.  Efficacy and Safety of Adding Clopidogrel to Aspirin on Stroke Prevention among High Vascular Risk Patients: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104402.
Whether clopidogrel should be added to aspirin for stroke prevention remained controversial for the risk of hemorrhagic complications. This meta-analysis was aimed to assess the efficacy and safety of adding clopidogrel to aspirin on stroke prevention in high vascular risk patients, and to provide evidence for a suitable duration of dual antiplatelet therapy.
We searched PubMed, EMBase, OVID and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (up to June, 2013) for randomized controlled trials evaluating the efficacy and safety of clopidogrel plus aspirin versus aspirin alone in high vascular risk patients. Comparisons of stroke and hemorrhagic complications between treatment groups were expressed by the pooled Relative Risks (RRs) with 95% Confidence Intervals (CIs).
Fifteen trials with a total of 97692 intention-to-treat participants were included with duration of follow-up ranging from 7 days to 3.6 years. Dual antiplatelet therapy reduced all stroke by 21% (RR: 0.79, 95% CI: 0.73–0.85) with no evidence of heterogeneity across the trials (P = 0.27, I2 = 17%).The effects were consistent between short-term subgroup (≤1 month, RR: 0.76, 95% CI: 0.67–0.85) and long-term subgroup (≥3 months, RR: 0.81, 95% CI: 0.73–0.89). The risk of major bleeding was not significantly increased by dual antiplatelet therapy in short-term subgroup (RR: 1.11, 95% CI: 0.91–1.36), while significantly increased in long-term subgroup (RR: 1.52, 95% CI: 1.36–1.69). Long-term dual antiplatelet therapy substantially increased the risk of intracranial bleeding (RR: 1.76, 95% CI: 1.22–2.54).
This meta-analysis demonstrates that short-term combination of clopidogrel and aspirin is effective and safe for stroke prevention in high vascular risk patients. Long-term combination therapy substantially increases the risk of major bleeding and intracranial bleeding.
PMCID: PMC4128803  PMID: 25110930
23.  The Effect of Cilostazol on Stent Thrombosis After Drug-Eluting Stent Implantation 
Korean Circulation Journal  2010;40(1):10-15.
Background and Objectives
Placement of drug-eluting stents (DES) can be complicated by stent thrombosis; prophylactic antiplatelet therapy has been used to prevent such events. We evaluated the efficacy of cilostazol with regard to stent thrombosis as adjunctive antiplatelet therapy.
Subjects and Methods
A total of 1,315 patients (846 males, 469 females) were prospectively enrolled and analyzed for the frequency of stent thrombosis. Patients with known risk factors for stent thrombosis, except diabetes and acute coronary syndrome, were excluded from the study. All patients maintained antiplatelet therapy for at least six months. To evaluate the effects of cilostazol as another option for antiplatelet therapy, triple antiplatelet therapy (aspirin+clopidogrel+cilostazol, n=502) was compared to dual antiplatelet therapy (aspirin+clopidogrel, n=813). Six months after stent placement, all patients received only two antiplatelet drugs: treatment either with cilostazol+aspirin (cilostazol group) or clopidogrel+aspirin (clopidogrel group). There were 1,033 patients (396 in cilostazol group and 637 in clopidogrel group) that maintained antiplatelet therapy for at least 12 months and were included in this study. Stent thrombosis was defined and classified according to the definition reported by the Academic Research Consortium (ARC).
defined and classified according to the definition reported by the Academic Research Consortium (ARC). Results: During follow-up (561.7±251.4 days), 15 patients (1.14%) developed stent thrombosis between day 1 to day 657. Stent thrombosis occurred in seven patients (1.39%) on triple antiplatelet therapy and four patients (0.49%) on dual antiplatelet therapy (p=NS) within the first six months after stenting. Six months and later, after stent implantation, one patient (0.25%) developed stent thrombosis in the cilostazol group, and three (0.47%) in the clopidogrel group (p=NS).
During the first six months after DES triple antiplatelet therapy may be more effective than dual antiplatelet therapy for the prevention of stent thrombosis. However, after the first six months, dual antiplatelet treatment, with aspirin and cilostazol, may have a better cost benefit ratio for the prevention of stent thrombosis.
PMCID: PMC2812792  PMID: 20111647
Drug-eluting stents; Cilostazol
24.  Comparative effect of clopidogrel and aspirin versus aspirin alone on laboratory parameters: a retrospective, observational, cohort study 
Clopidogrel and aspirin are antiplatelet agents that are recommended to reduce the risk of recurrent stroke and other cardiovascular events. Combination therapy of clopidogrel and aspirin has been shown to increase the risk of hemorrhage, but the effects of the drugs on laboratory parameters have not been well studied in patients in routine clinical practice. Therefore, we evaluated and compared the effects of combination therapy with clopidogrel plus aspirin and aspirin monotherapy on laboratory parameters using a clinical database.
We used data from the Clinical Data Warehouse of Nihon University School of Medicine obtained between November 2004 and April 2011, to identify cohorts of new users (n = 159) of clopidogrel (75 mg/day) plus aspirin (100 mg/day) and new users (n = 834) of aspirin alone (100 mg/day). We used a multivariable regression model and regression adjustment with the propensity score to adjust for differences in baseline covariates between settings, and compare the mean changes in serum levels of creatinine, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase and hematological parameters, including hemoglobin level, hematocrit, and white blood cell (WBC), red blood cell and platelet counts up to two months after the start of study drug administration.
After adjustment, the reduction of WBC count in clopidogrel plus aspirin users was significantly greater than that in aspirin alone users. All other tests showed no statistically significant difference in the mean change from baseline to during the exposure period between clopidogrel plus aspirin users and aspirin alone users. The combination of clopidogrel and aspirin increased the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding compared with aspirin alone, with a relative risk ranging from 2.06 (95% CI, 1.02 to 4.13; p = 0.043) for the multivariate model and 2.61 (95% CI, 1.18 to 5.80; p = 0.0184) for propensity adjustment.
Our findings suggested that hematological adverse effects may be greater with combination therapy of clopidogrel plus aspirin than with aspirin monotherapy.
PMCID: PMC3687565  PMID: 23767412
Clopidogrel; Aspirin; Laboratory parameter; Antiplatelet therapy; Propensity-score adjustment
25.  Efficacy of cilostazol on platelet reactivity and cardiovascular outcomes in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention: insights from a meta-analysis of randomised trials 
Open Heart  2014;1(1):e000068.
Cilostazol overcomes high on-treatment platelet reactivity (HTPR) and reduces adverse cardiovascular (CV) outcomes after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). However, the role for triple antiplatelet therapy (TAPT) with cilostazol in addition to aspirin and clopidogrel after PCI is not well defined.
We conducted a MEDLINE/EMBASE/CENTRAL search for randomised trials, until May 2014, evaluating TAPT compared with dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) of aspirin and clopidogrel alone in patients undergoing PCI and reporting platelet reactivity and/or CV outcomes. The primary platelet reactivity outcome was differences in platelet reactivity unit (PRU) with secondary outcomes of %platelet inhibition and rate of HTPR. The primary CV outcome was major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE), with secondary outcomes of death, cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, stent thrombosis (ST), target lesion revascularisation (TLR) and target vessel revascularisation (TVR) as well as safety outcomes of bleeding and drug discontinuations.
In 17 trials that evaluated platelet reactivity outcomes, the mean PRU value was 47.73 units lower with TAPT versus DAPT (95% CI −61.41 to −34.04, p<0.0001; mean PRU 182.90 vs 232.65). TAPT also increased platelet inhibition by 12.71% (95% CI 10.76 to 14.67, p<0.0001), and led to a 60% reduction in the risk of HTPR (relative risk=0.40; 95% CI 0.30 to 0.53) compared with DAPT. Moreover, among the 34 trials that evaluated CV outcomes, TAPT reduced the risk of MACE (incident rate ratio (IRR)=0.68; 95% CI 0.60 to 0.78), TLR (IRR=0.57; 95% CI 0.44 to 0.73), TVR (IRR=0.69; 95% CI 0.59 to 0.81) and ST (IRR=0.63; 95% CI 0.40 to 0.98) with no difference for other outcomes including bleeding, even in trials using drug-eluting stents. Drug discontinuation due to adverse effects was, however, higher with TAPT vs DAPT (IRR=1.59; 95% CI 1.32 to 1.91).
In patients undergoing PCI, addition of cilostazol to DAPT results in decreased platelet reactivity and a significant reduction in CV outcomes including ST, even in the drug-eluting stent era.
PMCID: PMC4189225  PMID: 25332804

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