Comparison Between Ticagrelor and Clopidogrel in Elderly Patients With an Acute Coronary Syndrome: Insights From the SWEDEHEART Registry

Circulation. 2020 Nov 3;142(18):1700-1708. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.050645. Epub 2020 Sep 1.


Background: The comparative efficacy and safety of ticagrelor versus clopidogrel in older patients with myocardial infarction (MI) has received limited study.

Methods: We performed an observational analysis of all patients ≥80 years (n=14 005) who were discharged alive with aspirin combined with either clopidogrel (60.2%) or ticagrelor (39.8%) after a MI between 2010 and 2017 registered in the national registry SWEDEHEART (Swedish Web-System for Enhancement and Development of Evidence-Based Care in Heart Disease Evaluated According to Recommended Therapies). Inverse probability treatment weighting was used in Cox regression models to adjust for differences in demographics, in-hospital therapies, and medications. The primary ischemic outcome (death, MI, or stroke), and bleeding were obtained from national registries at 1 year. A sensitivity analysis in <80-year-old patients was performed.

Results: In patients ≥80 years, the incidence of the primary ischemic outcome (hazard ratio [HR], 0.97 [95% CI, 0.88-1.06]) was similar for ticagrelor- and clopidogrel-treated patients. Ticagrelor was associated with a 17% and 48% higher risk of death (HR, 1.17 [95% CI, 1.03-1.32]) and bleeding (HR, 1.48 [95% CI, 1.25-1.76]), but a lower risk of MI (HR, 0.80 [95% CI, 0.70-0.92]) and stroke (HR, 0.72 [95% CI, 0.56-0.93]). In <80-year-old patients, the incidence of the primary ischemic outcome was 17% (HR, 0.83 [95% CI, 0.77-0.89]) lower with ticagrelor. Ticagrelor was associated with 15% (HR, 0.85 [95% CI, 0.76-0.96]) lower risk of death, 32% higher risk of bleeding (HR, 1.32 [95% CI, 1.18-1.47]), but lower risk of MI (HR, 0.82 [95% CI, 0.75-0.91]) and stroke (HR, 0.82 [95% CI, 0.69-0.98]).

Conclusions: Ticagrelor use among elderly patients with MI was associated with higher risk of bleeding and death compared with clopidogrel. A randomized study of ticagrelor versus clopidogrel in the elderly is needed.

Keywords: antiplatelet therapy; elderly; myocardial infarction; prognosis; risk-benefit.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / pharmacology
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / therapeutic use*
  • Clopidogrel / pharmacology
  • Clopidogrel / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Registries
  • Ticagrelor / pharmacology
  • Ticagrelor / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Clopidogrel
  • Ticagrelor