Francesco Condello, Gaetano Liccardo and Giuseppe Ferrante*
Background: Evidence about the use of dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) with aspirin and P2Y12 inhibitors in patients with acute minor ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) is emerging. The aim of our study was to provide an updated and comprehensive analysis about the risks and benefits of DAPT versus aspirin monotherapy in this setting.
Methods: The PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, ClinicalTrials.gov databases, main international conference proceedings were searched for randomized controlled trials comparing DAPT versus aspirin monotherapy in patients with acute ischemic stroke or TIA not eligible for thrombolysis or thrombectomy presenting in the first 24 hours after the acute event. Data were pooled by meta-analysis using a random-effects model. The primary efficacy endpoint was ischemic stroke recurrence, and the primary safety outcome was major bleeding. Secondary endpoints were intracranial hemorrhage, hemorrhagic stroke, and all-cause death.
Results: A total of 4 studies enrolling 21,459 patients were included. DAPT with clopidogrel was used in 3 studies, DAPT with ticagrelor in one study. DAPT duration was 21 days in one study, 1 month in one study, and 3 months in the remaining studies. DAPT was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of ischemic stroke recurrence (relative risk [RR], 0.74; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.67-0.82, P<0.001, number needed to treat 50 [95% CI 40-72], while it was associated with a significantly higher risk of major bleeding (RR, 2.59; 95% CI 1.49-4.53, P=0.001, number needed to harm 330 [95% CI 149-1111]), of intracranial hemorrhage (RR 3.06, 95% CI 1.41-6.66, P=0.005), with a trend towards higher risk of hemorrhagic stroke (RR 1.83, 95% CI 0.83-4.05, P=0.14), and a slight tendency towards higher risk of all-cause death (RR 1.30, 95% CI 0.89-1.89, P=0.16).
Conclusions: Among patients with acute minor ischemic stroke or TIA, DAPT, as compared with aspirin monotherapy, might offer better effectiveness in terms of ischemic stroke recurrence at the expense of a higher risk of major bleeding. The trade-off between ischemic benefits and bleeding risks should be assessed in tailoring the therapeutic strategies.
acute minor ischemic stroke; transient ischemic attack; aspirin; clopidogrel, ticagrelor, dual antiplatelet therapy, bleeding
Department of Biomedical Sciences, Humanitas University, Pieve Emanuele-Milan, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Humanitas University, Pieve Emanuele-Milan, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Humanitas University, Pieve Emanuele-Milan