Objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine the possible benefit of dual antiplatelet therapy in patients with prior myocardial infarction (MI), ischemic stroke, or symptomatic peripheral arterial disease (PAD).
Background: Dual antiplatelet therapy with clopidogrel plus aspirin has been validated in the settings of acute coronary syndromes and coronary stenting. The value of this combination was recently evaluated in the CHARISMA (Clopidogrel for High Atherothrombotic Risk and Ischemic Stabilization, Management, and Avoidance) trial, where no statistically significant benefit was found in the overall broad population of stable patients studied.
Methods: We identified the subgroup in the CHARISMA trial who were enrolled with documented prior MI, ischemic stroke, or symptomatic PAD.
Results: A total of 9,478 patients met the inclusion criteria for this analysis. The median duration of follow-up was 27.6 months. The rate of cardiovascular death, MI, or stroke was significantly lower in the clopidogrel plus aspirin arm than in the placebo plus aspirin arm: 7.3% versus 8.8% (hazard ratio [HR] 0.83, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.72 to 0.96, p = 0.01). Additionally, hospitalizations for ischemia were significantly decreased, 11.4% versus 13.2% (HR 0.86, 95% CI 0.76 to 0.96, p = 0.008). There was no significant difference in the rate of severe bleeding: 1.7% versus 1.5% (HR 1.12, 95% CI 0.81 to 1.53, p = 0.50); moderate bleeding was significantly increased: 2.0% versus 1.3% (HR 1.60, 95% CI 1.16 to 2.20, p = 0.004).
Conclusions: In this analysis of the CHARISMA trial, the large number of patients with documented prior MI, ischemic stroke, or symptomatic PAD appeared to derive significant benefit from dual antiplatelet therapy with clopidogrel plus aspirin. Such patients may benefit from intensification of antithrombotic therapy beyond aspirin alone, a concept that future trials will need to validate. (Clopidogrel for High Atherothrombotic Risk and Ischemic Stabilization, Management, and Avoidance [CHARISMA]; http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct/show/NCT00050817?order=1; NCT00050817).