Combination Antithrombotic Therapy in Unstable Rest Angina and Non-Q-Wave Infarction in Nonprior Aspirin Users: Primary End Points Analysis From the ATACS Trial

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Abstract

Background

The purpose of this study was to compare combination antithrombotic therapy with aspirin plus anticoagulation versus aspirin alone, when added to conventional antianginal therapy in patients with unstable rest angina or non-Q-wave myocardial infarction who were nonprior aspirin users.

Methods and Results

Two hundred fourteen patients were randomized; 109 were randomized to receive aspirin alone (162.5 mg daily) and 105 to receive a combination of aspirin plus anticoagulation, ie, aspirin 162.5 mg daily plus heparin (activated partial thromboplastin time, two times control) followed by aspirin 162.5 mg daily plus warfarin (international normalized ratio, 2 to 3). Trial therapy was begun by 9.5±8.8 hours of qualifying pain and was continued for 12 weeks. Primary end points were recurrent angina with ECG changes, myocardial infarction, and/or death. Analysis by intention to treat of primary events at 12 weeks was performed. At 14 days, there was a significant reduction in total ischemic events in the combination group versus aspirin alone (10.5% versus 27%, P = .004). An efficacy analysis of primary events at 12 weeks also revealed a large reduction in total ischemic events in the combination group versus aspirin alone (13% versus 25%, P = .06). Bleeding complications were slightly more common with combination therapy.

Conclusions

In nonprior aspirin users, combination antithrombotic therapy with aspirin plus anticoagulation significantly reduces recurrent ischemic events in the early phase of unstable angina.

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