Whether dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) is beneficial beyond 1 year after myocardial infarction (MI) is not demonstrated; in particular, available studies may be individually underpowered for end points at low incidence, that is, major and fatal bleeding or mortality. We thus assessed the effectiveness and safety of prolonged DAPT after MI over the long term.Methods
We conducted a systematic search to identify randomized trials on the topic; 3 studies and 21,534 post-MI patients receiving placebo or aspirin plus P2Y12 inhibition for ≥2 years were included. Incidence of the following outcome measures was evaluated: major adverse cardiac events (MACE), major bleeding, fatal bleeding, and cardiovascular and noncardiovascular death.Results
Occurrence of MACE was lower in patients treated with prolonged DAPT: 6.3% vs 7.9% in those without prolonged DAPT (odds ratios 0.74, 95% CI 0.60-0.91, P = .005); in the former, there was also a significant 16% reduction in cardiovascular mortality. Increase in major bleeding with extended duration DAPT was not significant in the overall analysis (1.5% vs 1.0%; P = .10), but became significant in the analysis restricted to patients receiving ticagrelor or prasugrel as second antiplatelet agent (odds ratios 2.16, 95% CI 1.63-2.86); prolonged use of DAPT did not raise rates of fatal bleeding or noncardiovascular mortality.Conclusion
Prolonged DAPT after MI reduces MACE and cardiovascular mortality over the long term; this was paralleled by higher risk of nonfatal major bleeding mainly with the newer, more potent P2Y12 antagonists. Tailoring duration of DAPT after MI on the comparative evaluation of both ischemic and bleeding risk is mandatory in this setting.