Up to 10% of the >3 million Americans with atrial fibrillation will experience an acute coronary syndrome or undergo percutaneous coronary intervention. Therefore, concurrent indications for multiple antithrombotic agents is a common clinical scenario. Although each helps reduce thrombotic risk, their combined use significantly increases the risk of major bleeding events, which can be life threatening. In the past 5 years, a number of randomized clinical trials have explored different combinations of anticoagulation plus antiplatelet agents aimed at minimizing bleeding risk while preserving low thrombotic event rates. In general, shorter courses with fewer antithrombotic agents have been found to be effective, particularly when direct oral anticoagulants are combined with clopidogrel. Combined use of very low-dose rivaroxaban plus aspirin has also demonstrated benefit in atherosclerotic diseases, including coronary and peripheral artery disease. Use of proton pump inhibitor therapy while patients are taking multiple antithrombotic agents has the potential to further reduce upper gastrointestinal bleeding risk in select populations. Applying this evidence to patients with multiple thrombotic conditions will help to avoid costly and life-threatening adverse medication events.
© 2020 by The American Society of Hematology.