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.
Aspirin; Clopidogrel; Antiplatelet agent; Aspirin resistance; Clopidogrel resistance; Cardiovascular outcome; Platelet aggregation
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.
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 ClinicalTrials.gov, 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).
With majority of ischemic strokes attributable to atherothrombosis and many being predictable after transient ischemic attacks (TIA), the role of early secondary prevention with antiplatelet agents is under renewed investigation. Prior major clinical trials of various secondary stroke prevention regimens pointed to a greater efficacy of dual antiplatelet agents if initiated early from symptom onset. This paper examines data and rationale behind dual antiplatelet regimens across the completed clinical trials. The safety of dual antiplatelets approach is of concern, but it could be outweighed, at least in early management, by a greater reduction in recurrence of ischemic events since this risk is “front loaded” after minor stroke or TIA. Aspirin monotherapy, though considered standard of care, is compared to aspirin-extended release dipiridamole and its combination with clopidogrel in early-phase completed and efficacy-phase ongoing clinical trials.
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.
Stoke; Prevention; Antiplatelets; Clinical trials; Aspirin; Clopidogrel; Dipyridamole
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.
The aim of this review is to provide evidence-based recommendations on the secondary prevention of atherothrombotic ischemic stroke. Antiplatelets are the major therapy for the secondary stroke prevention. The most commonly used antiplatelets agents are aspirin, clopidogrel, and extended-release dipyridamole. A lot of progress had been made in last years regarding aspirin resistance and genotyping of clopidogrel metabolism. According to the results of the accomplished studies it is difficult to broadly recommend one antithrombotic agent in favor of the other. Instead, a review of the currently published data suggests the importance of focusing on the individualizing approach in antiplatelet therapy.
ischemic stroke; secondary prevention; antiplatelets
Although the exact prevalence of antiplatelet resistance in ischemic stroke is not known, estimates about the two most widely used antiplatelet agents – aspirin and clopidogrel – suggest that the resistance rate is high, irrespective of the definition used and parameters measured. Inadequate antiplatelet responsiveness correlates with an increased risk of recurrent ischemic vascular events in patients with stroke and acute coronary syndrome. It is not currently known whether tailoring antiplatelet therapy based on platelet function test results translates into a more effective strategy to prevent secondary vascular events after stroke. Large-scale clinical trials using a universally accepted definition and standardized measurement techniques for antiplatelet resistance are needed to demonstrate whether a ‘platelet-function test-guided antiplatelet treatment’ strategy translates into improved stroke care. This article gives an overview of the clinical importance of laboratory antiplatelet resistance, describes the challenges for platelet-function test-guided antiplatelet treatment and discusses practical issues about the management of patients with aspirin and/or clopidogrel resistance.
antiplatelet; aspirin; clopidogrel; ischemic stroke; non-response; platelet function assay; point of care; resistance; stroke
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.
Peer‐reviewed data pertaining to anti‐thrombotic and interventional therapy for transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or ischaemic stroke patients with non‐valvular atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, interatrial septal abnormalities, or left ventricular thrombus were reviewed. Long‐term oral anticoagulant therapy with warfarin is the treatment of choice for secondary stroke prevention following TIA or minor ischaemic stroke in association with persistent or paroxysmal non‐valvular atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter. If warfarin is contraindicated, long‐term aspirin is a safe, but much less effective alternative treatment option in this subgroup of patients with cerebrovascular disease. Management of young patients with TIA or stroke in association with an interatrial septal defect is controversial. Various treatment options are outlined, but readers are encouraged to include these patients in one of the ongoing randomised clinical trials in this area. It is reasonable to consider empirical anticoagulation in patients with TIA or ischaemic stroke in association with left ventricular thrombus formation following myocardial infarction or in association with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. If warfarin is prescribed, one should aim for a target international normalised ratio of 2.5 (range 2–3) to achieve the best balance between adequate secondary prevention of cardioembolic events and the risk of major haemorrhagic complications.
There is continuing debate about the relative efficacy of low (< 100 mg per day), medium (300 to 325 mg per day), and high (> 900 mg per day) doses of aspirin in patients after a transient ischaemic attack or non-disabling stroke. The purpose of this study was to resolve the issue. Thus a minimeta-analysis was performed on data from 10 randomised trials of aspirin only v control treatment in 6171 patients after a transient ischaemic attack or nondisabling stroke. The data on the trials were listed in an appendix of the report on the second cycle of the Antiplatelet Trialists' Collaboration. There was virtually no difference in relative risk reduction for low, medium, and high doses of aspirin (13%, 9%, and 14% respectively). This equivalence corresponds with the results of the UK-TIA trial in a direct comparison of 300 and 1200 mg. The Dutch TIA trial showed no difference in efficacy of 30 and 283 mg. It is concluded that aspirin at any dose above 30 mg daily prevents 13% (95% confidence interval 4-21) of vascular events and that there is a need for more efficacious drugs.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD), principally heart disease and stroke, is the leading cause of death for both males and females in developed countries. Aspirin is the most widely used and tested antiplatelet drug in CVD, and it is proven to be the cornerstone of antiplatelet therapy in treatment and prevention of CVD in clinical trials in various populations. In acute coronary syndrome, thrombotic stroke, and Kawasaki's disease, acute use of aspirin can decrease mortality and recurrence of cardiovascular events. As secondary prevention, aspirin is believed to be effective in acute coronary syndrome, stable angina, revascularization, stroke, TIA, and atrial fibrillation. Aspirin may also be used for patients with a high risk of future CVD for primary prevention, but the balance between benefits and the possibility of side effects must be considered.
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.
Clopidogrel; Aspirin; Laboratory parameter; Antiplatelet therapy; Propensity-score adjustment
A total of 2435 patients with transient ischaemic attack or minor ischaemic stroke were entered into the UK-TIA aspirin trial and randomised to treatment with aspirin 1200 mg/day, aspirin 300 mg/day, or placebo. At a single point in time during the trial patients were examined ophthalmoscopically for evidence of cataracts. The length of time that each patient had been participating in the trial at the time of ophthalmic examination varied from 1 to 5 years. The prevalence of cataracts was similar in patients allocated aspirin and patients allocated placebo irrespective of the length of time that they had been in the trial. These findings suggest that aspirin taken in a dose of 300 to 1200 mg daily for a few years does not prevent cataracts.
Previous studies have suggested that pre-stroke treatment with low-dose aspirin (A) could reduce the severity of acute ischaemic stroke, but less is known on the effect of pre-stroke treatment with a combination of aspirin and dipyridamole (A + D) and post-stroke effects of these drugs. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of this drug combination on acute and long-term prognosis of ischaemic stroke.
Patients without atrial fibrillation admitted to the stroke unit with acute ischaemic stroke (n = 554) or TIA (n = 108) were studied during acute hospital care and up to 12 months after discharge from hospital.
Prior to acute stroke 62 patients were treated with A + D while 247 patients were treated with A only. No beneficial effects of the combination A + D compared to A only were noted on stroke severity and/or acute in-hospital mortality. However, survival analysis by Cox-proportional hazard model demonstrated lower 12-months all-cause mortality in patients discharged with A + D (n = 275) compared with patients on A only (HR, 0.52; CI, 0.32-0.86; p = 0.011; n = 262) after adjusting for age, baseline NIHSS, previous stroke, previous myocardial infarction and type 2 diabetes. We also noted a tendency towards lower all-cause mortality at 3 months with use of A + D, but this was not statistically significant (p = 0.12).
Pre-stroke treatment with a combination of low-dose A + D does not reduce the severity of acute stroke, nor does it reduce the acute in-hospital mortality. However, treatment with A + D at discharge from hospital is seemingly associated with lower long-term mortality compared with A only, contrary to the results from previous randomised studies. However, our results must be interpreted with extreme caution considering the non-randomised study design.
Pre-stroke; Antiplatelet; Post-stroke; Treatment; Mortality
Role of antiplatelet therapy in secondary stroke prevention is of major significance. Antiplatelet agents predominantly in use are aspirin, clopidogrel, and combination regimes. The review focuses on the optimization of antiplatelet regimen based on evidence obtained from randomized-controlled trials, on different antiplatelet regimes and the risk assessment that may be unique to each patient.
Antiplatelets; stroke; prevention
The cornerstone in clinical evidence of the relative efficacy of thienopyridines (clopidogrel, ticlopidine) versus aspirin in the secondary prevention of vascular disease is the Clopidogrel versus Aspirin in Patients at Risk of Ischaemic Events trial. This trial showed a modest benefit in the reduction of vascular events by clopidogrel. The results differed according to qualifying disorder: myocardial infarction, -3.7%; ischaemic stroke, +7.3%; and peripheral arterial disease, +23.8% (P = 0.042). Similar results were found for ticlopidine after brain ischaemia. The safety of clopidogrel appears to be similar to that of aspirin and better than that of ticlopidine. However, the recent report of thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura in association with clopidogrel causes concern.
aspirin; cerebral ischaemia; clopidogrel; myocardial infarction; peripheral artery disease
Clopidogrel and aspirin are antiplatelet agents that are recommended to reduce the risk of recurrent stroke and other cardiovascular events. Dual antiplatelet therapy with 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 real-world clinical settings. Therefore, we evaluated and compared the effects of combination therapy with clopidogrel plus aspirin and aspirin monotherapy on laboratory parameters.
We used data from the Nihon University School of Medicine Clinical Data Warehouse obtained between November 2004 and May 2011 to identify cohorts of new users (n = 130) of clopidogrel (75 mg/day) plus aspirin (100 mg/day) and a propensity score matched sample of new users (n = 130) of aspirin alone (100 mg/day). We used a multivariate regression model to compare serum levels of creatinine, aspartate aminotransferase, and alanine aminotransferase, as well as hematological parameters including hemoglobin level, hematocrit, and white blood cell, red blood cell, and platelet counts up to 2 months after the start of administration of the study drugs.
There were no significant differences for any characteristics and baseline laboratory parameters between users of clopidogrel plus aspirin and users of aspirin alone. Reductions in white blood cell and red blood cell counts, hemoglobin levels, and hematocrit in users of clopidogrel plus aspirin were significantly greater than those in users of aspirin alone.
Our findings suggest that adverse hematological effects may be greater with combination clopidogrel plus aspirin therapy than with aspirin monotherapy.
clopidogrel; aspirin; laboratory parameter; antiplatelet therapy; propensity score matching
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.
OBJECTIVE: To ascertain the impact of prior antiplatelet and statin therapy on symptomatic embolic events in native valve infective endocarditis (IE).
PATIENTS AND METHODS: We studied a retrospective cohort of adult patients with a diagnosis of IE who presented to Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN) from January 1, 2003, to December 31, 2006. Patients were grouped into those who received treatment before infection or controls who did not receive treatment for both antiplatelet therapy and, separately, statin therapy. Because of the retrospective study design and thus the nonrandomized treatment groups, a propensity score approach was used to account for the confounding factors that may have influenced treatment allocation. Antiplatelet therapy included aspirin, dipyridamole, clopidogrel, ticlopidine or any combination of these agents. Statin therapy included atorvastatin, simvastatin, pravastatin, lovastatin, rosuvastatin, or fluvastatin. The primary end point was a symptomatic embolic event that occurred before or during hospitalization. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess the propensity-adjusted effects of continuous daily therapy with antiplatelet and statin agents on risk of symptomatic emboli. Likewise, Cox proportional hazards regression was used to test for an independent association with 6-month mortality for each of the treatments.
RESULTS: The study cohort comprised 283 patients with native valve IE. Twenty-eight patients (24.1%) who received prior continuous antiplatelet therapy developed a symptomatic embolic event compared with 66 (39.5%) who did not receive such treatment. After adjusting for propensity to treat, the effect of antiplatelet therapy on embolic risk was not statistically significant (odds ratio, 0.71; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.37-1.36; P=.30). Only 14 patients (18.2%) who received prior continuous statin therapy developed a symptomatic embolic event compared with 80 (39.4%) of the 203 patients who did not. After adjusting for propensity to treat with statin therapy, the benefit attributable to statins was significant (odds ratio, 0.30; 95% CI, 0.14-0.62; P=.001). The 6-month mortality rate of the entire cohort was 28% (95% CI, 23%-34%). No significant difference was found in the propensity-adjusted rate of 6-month mortality between patients who had and had not undergone prior antiplatelet therapy (P=.91) or those who had and had not undergone prior statin therapy (P=.87).
CONCLUSION: The rate of symptomatic emboli associated with IE was reduced in patients who received continuous daily statin therapy before onset of IE. Despite fewer embolic events observed in patients who received antiplatelet agents, a significant association was not found after adjusting for propensity factors. A continued evaluation of these drugs and their potential impact on subsequent embolism among IE patients is warranted.
Intracranial atherosclerotic disease (ICAD) is the most common proximate mechanism of ischemic stroke worldwide. Approximately half of those affected are Asians. For diagnosis of ICAD, intra-arterial angiography is the gold standard to identify extent of stenosis. However, noninvasive techniques including transcranial ultrasound and MRA are now emerging as reliable modalities to exclude moderate to severe (50%–99%) stenosis. Little is known about measures for primary prevention of the disease. In terms of secondary prevention of stroke due to intracranial atherosclerotic stenosis, aspirin continues to be the preferred antiplatelet agent although clopidogrel along with aspirin has shown promise in the acute phase. Among Asians, cilostazol has shown a favorable effect on symptomatic stenosis and is of benefit in terms of fewer bleeds. Moreover, aggressive risk factor management alone and in combination with dual antiplatelets been shown to be most effective in this group of patients. Interventional trials on intracranial atherosclerotic stenosis have so far only been carried out among Caucasians and have not yielded consistent results. Since the Asian population is known to be preferentially effected, focused trials need to be performed to establish treatment modalities that are most effective in this population.
Thirty one randomised trials of antiplatelet treatment for patients with a history of transient ischaemic attack, occlusive stroke, unstable angina, or myocardial infarction were identified. Six were still in progress, and the results of the remaining 25 were reviewed. They included a total of some 29 000 patients, 3000 of whom had died. Overall, allocation to antiplatelet treatment had no apparent effect on non-vascular mortality but reduced vascular mortality by 15% (SD 4%) and non-fatal vascular events (stroke or myocardial infarction) by 30% (4%). This suggested that with good compliance these treatments might reduce vascular mortality by about one sixth, other vascular events by about a third, and total vascular events by about a quarter. There was no significant difference between the effects of the different types of antiplatelet treatment tested (300-325 mg aspirin daily, higher aspirin doses, sulphinpyrazone, or high dose aspirin with dipyridamole), nor between the effects in patients with histories of cerebral or cardiac disease. Thus antiplatelet treatment can reduce the incidence of serious vascular events by about a quarter among a wide range of patients at particular risk of occlusive vascular disease. The balance of risk and benefit, however, might be different for “primary” prevention among people at low absolute risk of occlusive disease if antiplatelet treatment produced even a small increase in the incidence of cerebral haemorrhage.
Clinical presentations of atherothrombotic vascular disease, such as acute coronary syndromes, ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack, and symptomatic peripheral arterial disease, are major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Platelet activation and aggregation play a seminal role in the arterial thrombus formation that precipitates acute manifestations of atherothrombotic disease. As a result, antiplatelet therapy has become the cornerstone of therapy for the prevention and treatment of atherothrombotic disease. Dual antiplatelet therapy with aspirin and a P2Y12 adenosine diphosphate (ADP) receptor inhibitor, such as clopidogrel or prasugrel, is the current standard-of-care antiplatelet therapy in patients with acute coronary syndromes managed with an early invasive strategy. However, these agents are associated with several important clinical limitations, including significant residual risk for ischemic events, bleeding risk, and variability in the degree of platelet inhibition. The residual risk can be attributed to the fact that aspirin and P2Y12 inhibitors block only the thromboxane A2 and ADP platelet activation pathways but do not affect the other pathways that lead to thrombosis, such as the protease-activated receptor-1 pathway stimulated by thrombin, the most potent platelet agonist. Bleeding risk associated with aspirin and P2Y12 inhibitors can be explained by their inhibitory effects on the thromboxane A2 and ADP pathways, which are critical for protective hemostasis. Interpatient variability in the degree of platelet inhibition in response to antiplatelet therapy may have a genetic component and contribute to poor clinical outcomes. These considerations underscore the clinical need for therapies with a novel mechanism of action that may reduce ischemic events without increasing the bleeding risk.
acute coronary syndromes; antiplatelet therapy; ADP; thromboxane A2; PAR-1; bleeding
Aspirin and clopidogrel monotherapies are effective treatments for preventing vascular disease. However, new evidence has emerged regarding the use of combined aspirin and clopidogrel therapy to prevent cardiovascular events. We therefore performed a comprehensive systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the benefits and harms of combined aspirin and clopidogrel therapy on major cardiovascular outcomes.
We systematically searched Medline, Embase, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, reference lists of articles, and proceedings of major meetings to identify studies to fit our analysis. Eligible studies were randomized controlled trials assessing the effect of combined aspirin and clopidogrel therapy compared with aspirin or clopidogrel monotherapy. We identified 7 trials providing data with a total of 48248 patients. These studies reported 5134 major cardiovascular events, 1626 myocardial infarctions, 1927 strokes, and 1147 major bleeding events. Overall, the addition of aspirin to clopidogrel therapy as compared to single drug therapy resulted in a 9% RR reduction (95%CI, 2 to 17) in major cardiovascular events, 14% RR reduction (95%CI, 3 to 24) in myocardial infarction, 16% RR reduction (95%CI, 1 to 28) in stroke, and 62% RR increase (95%CI, 26 to 108) in major bleeding events. We also present the data as ARR to explore net value as the reduction in cardiovascular events. Overall, we observed that combined therapy yielded 1.06% decrease (95%CI, 0.23% to 1.99%) in major cardiovascular events and 1.23% increase (95%CI, 0.52% to 2.14%) in major bleeding events.
Although the addition of aspirin to clopidogrel resulted in small relative reductions in major cardiovascular events, myocardial infarction, and stroke, it also resulted in a relative increase in major bleeding events. In absolute terms the benefits of combined therapy, a 1.06% reduction in major cardiovascular events, does not outweigh the harms, a 1.23% increase in major bleeding events.
Dual antiplatelet treatment with aspirin and clopidogrel is the antithrombotic treatment recommended after an acute coronary syndrome and/or coronary artery stenting. The evidence for optimal antiplatelet therapy for patients, in whom long-term treatment oral anticoagulation is mandatory, is however scarce. To evaluate the safety and efficacy of the various antithrombotic strategies adopted in this population, we reviewed the available evidence on the management of patients receiving oral anticoagulation, such as a vitamin-k-antagonists, referred for coronary artery stenting.
Atrial fibrillation is the most frequent indication for oral anticoagulation. The need of starting antiplatelet therapy in this clinical scenario raises concerns about the combination to choose: triple therapy with warfarin, aspirin, and a thienopyridine being the most frequent and advised. The safety of this regimen appeared suboptimal because of an increased risk in hemorrhagic complications. On the other hand, the combination of oral anticoagulation and an antiplatelet agent is suboptimal in preventing thromboembolic events and stent thrombosis; dual antiplatelet therapy may be considered only when a high hemorrhagic risk and low thromboembolic risk are perceived. Indeed, the need for prolonged multiple-drug antithrombotic therapy increases the bleeding risks when drug eluting stents are used.
Since current evidence derives mainly from small, single-center and retrospective studies, large-scale prospective multicenter studies are urgently needed.
Atrial fibrillation; Percutaneous coronary intervention; Stent; Warfarin; Antiplatelet drugs