Clopidogrel and Aspirin versus Aspirin Alone for the Prevention of Atherothrombotic Events

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Abstract

Background

Dual antiplatelet therapy with clopidogrel plus low-dose aspirin has not been studied in a broad population of patients at high risk for atherothrombotic events.

Methods

We randomly assigned 15,603 patients with either clinically evident cardiovascular disease or multiple risk factors to receive clopidogrel (75 mg per day) plus low-dose aspirin (75 to 162 mg per day) or placebo plus low-dose aspirin and followed them for a median of 28 months. The primary efficacy end point was a composite of myocardial infarction, stroke, or death from cardiovascular causes.

Results

The rate of the primary efficacy end point was 6.8 percent with clopidogrel plus aspirin and 7.3 percent with placebo plus aspirin (relative risk, 0.93; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.83 to 1.05; P=0.22). The respective rate of the principal secondary efficacy end point, which included hospitalizations for ischemic events, was 16.7 percent and 17.9 percent (relative risk, 0.92; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.86 to 0.995; P=0.04), and the rate of severe bleeding was 1.7 percent and 1.3 percent (relative risk, 1.25; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.97 to 1.61 percent; P=0.09). The rate of the primary end point among patients with multiple risk factors was 6.6 percent with clopidogrel and 5.5 percent with placebo (relative risk, 1.2; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.91 to 1.59; P=0.20) and the rate of death from cardiovascular causes also was higher with clopidogrel (3.9 percent vs. 2.2 percent, P=0.01). In the subgroup with clinically evident atherothrombosis, the rate was 6.9 percent with clopidogrel and 7.9 percent with placebo (relative risk, 0.88; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.77 to 0.998; P=0.046).

Conclusions

In this trial, there was a suggestion of benefit with clopidogrel treatment in patients with symptomatic atherothrombosis and a suggestion of harm in patients with multiple risk factors. Overall, clopidogrel plus aspirin was not significantly more effective than aspirin alone in reducing the rate of myocardial infarction, stroke, or death from cardiovascular causes. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00050817.)

N Engl J Med 2006;354

1706-17.

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