Aims: To evaluate safety and effectiveness of clopidogrel reloading in patients on chronic clopidogrel therapy undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).
Methods and results: Five hundred and three patients on >10 days clopidogrel therapy (41% with non-ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndrome, ACS) randomly received 600 mg clopidogrel loading 4-8 h before PCI (n = 252) or placebo (n = 251). Primary endpoint was 30-day incidence of major adverse cardiac events (MACE). In the overall population primary endpoint occurred in 6.7% of patients in the reload vs. 8.8% in the placebo arm [odds ratios (OR) 0.75, 95% confidence intervals (CI) 0.37-1.52; P = 0.50]. In stable angina patients, 1-month MACE were not significantly different (7.0 vs. 3.9%; OR 1.84, 0.60-5.88; P = 0.36), whereas ACS patients had significant clinical benefit with reloading (6.4 vs. 16.3%; OR 0.34, 95% CI 0.32-0.90, P = 0.033 at multivariable analysis; interaction test: P = 0.01). There was no excess bleeding in the reload arm (6% in both groups).
Conclusion: ARMYDA-4 RELOAD reveals no overall benefit from reloading patients on chronic clopidogrel therapy prior to PCI; the benefit observed in ACS patients is a hypothesis-generating finding that needs to be confirmed by larger studies.