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Stroke. 2019 Apr;50(4):947-953. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.118.023978.

Optimal Duration of Aspirin Plus Clopidogrel After Ischemic Stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack.

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From the Department of Medicine (H.R., F.N., E.K.), Guthrie Health System/Robert Packer Hospital, Sayre, PA.
Department of Medicine, West Virginia University, Morgantown (S.U.K.).
Department of Medicine, Services Hospital, Lahore, Pakistan (T.H.).
Division of Neurology (M.A.M.), Guthrie Health System/Robert Packer Hospital, Sayre, PA.
Division of Cardiology, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark (E.K.).
Division of Cardiology, The Geisinger Commonwealth Medical College, Scranton, PA (E.K.).


Background and Purpose- The role of aspirin plus clopidogrel (A+C) therapy compared with aspirin monotherapy in patients presenting with acute ischemic stroke (IS) or transient ischemic attack remains uncertain. We conducted this study to determine the optimal period of efficacy and safety of A+C compared with aspirin monotherapy. Methods- Ten randomized controlled trials (15 434 patients) were selected using MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (inception June 2018) comparing A+C with aspirin monotherapy in patients with transient ischemic attack or IS. The primary efficacy outcome was recurrent IS, and the primary safety outcome was major bleeding. The secondary outcomes were major adverse cardiovascular events (composite of stroke, myocardial infarction, and cardiovascular mortality) and all-cause mortality. We stratified analysis based on the short- (≤1 month), intermediate- (≤3 month), and long-term (>3 month) A+C therapy. Effects were estimated as relative risk (RR) with 95% CI. Results- A+C significantly reduced the risk of recurrent IS at short-term (RR, 0.53; 95% CI, 0.37-0.78) and intermediate-term (RR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.58-0.90) durations. Similarly, major adverse cardiovascular event was significantly reduced by short-term (RR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.60-0.78) and intermediate-term (RR, 0.76; 95% CI, 0.61-0.94) A+C therapy. However, long-term A+C did not yield beneficial effect in terms of recurrent IS (RR, 0.81; 95% CI, 0.63-1.04) and major adverse cardiovascular events (RR, 0.87; 95% CI, 0.71-1.07). Intermediate-term (RR, 2.58; 95% CI, 1.19-5.60) and long-term (RR, 1.87; 95% CI, 1.36-2.56) A+C regimens significantly increased the risk of major bleeding as opposed to short-term A+C (RR, 1.82; 95% CI, 0.91-3.62). Excessive all-cause mortality was limited to long-term A+C (RR, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.10-1.93). Conclusions- Short-term A+C is more effective and equally safe in comparison to aspirin alone in patients with acute IS or transient ischemic attack.


aspirin; clopidogrel; stroke; transient ischemic attack

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