Prasugrel: new drug. After angioplasty and stenting: continue to use aspirin + clopidogrel

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Prescrire International 2009, 18 (103): 193-5
(1) For patients with acute coronary syndromes who have undergone percutaneous angioplasty and stenting, the best-assessed treatment for preventing relapses is a combination of aspirin and clopidogrel; (2) Prasugrel, an antiplatelet drug belonging the same chemical class as clopidogrel, is authorized in the EU for use in this indication; (3) Clinical evaluation is based on a randomized double-blind trial comparing prasugrel + aspirin versus clopidogrel + aspirin in 13 608 patients with acute coronary syndromes, half of whom were treated for at least 15 months. Prasugrel did not reduce overall mortality (about 3%) or the incidence of non-fatal stroke after 15 months (1% of patients). The only advantage reported with prasugrel was a significant reduction in the risk of non-fatal myocardial infarction (7.3% versus 9.5%); (4) In this trial, bleeding events, excluding those related to revascularisation procedures, were more frequent in the prasugrel group than in the clopidogrel group (2.4% versus 1.8%). Haemorrhages associated with revascularisation were also significantly more numerous with prasugrel (11.3% and 3.6%); (5) Subgroup analyses suggest that the risk-benefit balance of prasugrel is unfavourable in patients weighing less than 60 kg, patients over 75 years of age, and patients with a history of transient ischaemic attack or stroke; (6) The trial comparing prasugrel versus clopidogrel, as well as some animal studies, raise the possibility that prasugrel might increase the risk of cancer. In the main trial, prasugrel caused fewer cases of neutropenia than clopidogrel, but more cases of respiratory failure, hypotension and atrial flutter were observed; (7) In practice, for secondary prevention in patients with acute coronary syndromes treated with angioplasty and stenting, the risk-benefit balance of prasugrel, used in combination with aspirin, appears to be no better than that of clopidogrel + aspirin.

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