Aspirin-free antiplatelet strategies after percutaneous coronary interventions

Eur Heart J. 2024 Feb 21;45(8):572-585. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehad876.


Dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) with aspirin and a platelet P2Y12 receptor inhibitor is the standard antithrombotic treatment after percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI). Several trials have challenged guideline-recommended DAPT after PCI by testing the relative clinical effect of an aspirin-free antiplatelet approach-consisting of P2Y12 inhibitor monotherapy after a short course (mostly 1-3 months) of DAPT-among patients undergoing PCI without a concomitant indication for oral anticoagulation (OAC). Overall, these studies have shown P2Y12 inhibitor monotherapy after short DAPT to be associated with a significant reduction in the risk of bleeding without an increase in thrombotic or ischaemic events compared with continued DAPT. Moreover, the effects of the P2Y12 inhibitor monotherapy without prior DAPT or following a very short course of DAPT after PCI are being investigated in emerging studies, of which one has recently reported unfavourable efficacy results associated with the aspirin-free approach compared with conventional DAPT. Finally, P2Y12 inhibitor alone has been compared with aspirin alone as chronic therapy after DAPT discontinuation, thus challenging the historical role of aspirin as a standard of care for secondary prevention following PCI. A thorough understanding of study designs, populations, treatments, results, and limitations of trials testing P2Y12 inhibitor monotherapy vs. DAPT or vs. aspirin is required to consider adopting this treatment in clinical practice. This review addresses the use of aspirin-free antiplatelet strategies among patients undergoing PCI without a concomitant indication for OAC, providing an overview of clinical evidence, guideline indications, practical implications, ongoing issues, and future perspectives.

Keywords: Aspirin-free approaches; Clopidogrel monotherapy; Dual antiplatelet therapy; P2Y12 inhibitor monotherapy; Ticagrelor monotherapy.