Association of Ticagrelor vs Clopidogrel With Major Adverse Coronary Events in Patients With Acute Coronary Syndrome Undergoing Percutaneous Coronary Intervention

Ricky D Turgeon, Sheri L Koshman, Erik Youngson, Bryan Har, Stephen B Wilton, Matthew T James, Michelle M Graham
JAMA Internal Medicine 2020 March 1, 180 (3): 420-428

Importance: Guidelines currently recommend ticagrelor over clopidogrel for patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) based on randomized clinical trial data in which ticagrelor reduced major adverse coronary events (MACE) vs clopidogrel but increased bleeding and dyspnea.

Objective: To compare the risk of MACE with ticagrelor vs clopidogrel in patients with ACS treated with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), to compare major bleeding and dyspnea, and to evaluate the association between P2Y12 inhibitor adherence and MACE.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Population-based cohort study using data of patients discharged alive after PCI for ACS from the Alberta Provincial Project for Outcome Assessment in Coronary Heart Disease registry from April 1, 2012, to March 31, 2016, with follow-up to 1 year. Analysis began April 2018.

Exposures: Outpatient prescription for ticagrelor or clopidogrel within 31 days after PCI. Adherence was defined as a medication refill adherence value of 80% or higher.

Main Outcomes and Measures: Major adverse coronary events, a composite of all-cause death, hospitalization for ACS, unplanned coronary revascularization, or stent thrombosis within 365 days after index PCI. Secondary outcomes included hospitalization for major bleeding and emergency department visit for dyspnea.

Results: Of 11 185 individuals who underwent PCI, the median (interquartile range) age was 61 (54-71) years, and 2760 (24.7%) were women. Ticagrelor users (4076 [36.4%]) were generally younger and had fewer cardiac and noncardiac comorbidities than clopidogrel users. Ticagrelor was not associated with lower risk of MACE (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR], 0.97; 95% CI, 0.85-1.10); however, it was associated with an increased risk of major bleeding (aHR, 1.51; 95% CI, 1.29-1.78) and dyspnea (aHR, 1.98; 95% CI, 1.47-2.65). A total of 3328 ticagrelor users (81.6%) were adherent during the study vs 5256 of clopidogrel users (73.9%) (P < .001; χ2 = 86.4). In the full cohort, adherence was associated with a lower MACE risk (aHR, 0.79; 95% CI, 0.69-0.90 for adherence of ≥80% vs <80%). Differences in other secondary outcomes were not statistically significant. Sensitivity and subgroup analyses were consistent with primary analyses.

Conclusions and Relevance: In this population-based cohort study of patients with ACS who underwent PCI, outpatient use of ticagrelor was not associated with a statistically significant reduction in MACE vs clopidogrel; however, it was associated with more major bleeding and dyspnea.

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