Dual antiplatelet therapy de-escalation in acute coronary syndrome: an individual patient meta-analysis

Eur Heart J. 2023 Apr 17;44(15):1360-1370. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehac829.


Aims: Dual-antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) with aspirin and a potent P2Y12 inhibitor is the standard treatment for patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). De-escalation of the potent P2Y12 inhibtor is an appealing concept to balance the ischaemic and bleeding risks after PCI. An individual patient data meta-analysis was performed to compare de-escalation versus standard DAPT in patients with ACS.

Methods and results: Electronic databases, including PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane database, were searched to identify randomised clinical trials (RCTs) comparing the de-escalation strategy with the standard DAPT after PCI in patients with ACS. Individual patient-level data were collected from the relevant trials. The co-primary endpoints of interest were the ischaemic composite endpoint (a composite of cardiac death, myocardial infarction, and cerebrovascular events) and bleeding endpoint (any bleeding) at 1-year post-PCI. Four RCTs (the TROPICAL-ACS, POPular Genetics, HOST-REDUCE-POLYTECH-ACS, and TALOS-AMI trials) including 10 133 patients were analysed. The ischaemic endpoint was significantly lower in the patients assigned to the de-escalation strategy than in those assigned to the standard strategy (2.3% vs. 3.0%, hazard ratio [HR] 0.761, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.597-0.972, log rank P = 0.029). Bleeding was also significantly lower in the de-escalation strategy group (6.5% vs. 9.1%, HR 0.701, 95% CI 0.606-0.811, log rank P < 0.001). No significant intergroup differences were observed in terms of all-cause death and major bleeding events. Subgroup analyses revealed that compared to guided de-escalation, unguided de-escalation had a significantly larger impact on bleeding endpoint reduction (P for interaction = 0.007); no intergroup differences were observed for the ischaemic endpoints.

Conclusion: In this individual patient data meta-analysis, DAPT-based de-escalation was associated with both decreased ischaemic and bleeding endpoints. Reduction in bleeding endpoints was more prominent for the unguided than the guided de-escalation strategy.

Study registration number: This study was registered in the PROSPERO (ID: CRD42021245477).

Keywords: Acute coronary syndrome; Antiplatelet therapy; Bleeding outcome; De-escalation; Ischemic outcome.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Coronary Syndrome* / therapy
  • Clopidogrel / therapeutic use
  • Dual Anti-Platelet Therapy
  • Hemorrhage / chemically induced
  • Humans
  • Percutaneous Coronary Intervention* / adverse effects
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Prasugrel Hydrochloride / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Clopidogrel
  • Prasugrel Hydrochloride