Low risk of rebound events after a short course of clopidogrel in acute TIA or minor stroke.
Geraghty OC., Paul NLM., Chandratheva A., Rothwell PM.
OBJECTIVE: The combination of aspirin and clopidogrel is indicated after acute coronary events and possibly for a short period after TIA or minor ischemic stroke. Early discontinuation of clopidogrel results in a transient rebound increase in risk of recurrence in acute coronary syndromes, but there are no published data on any similar rebound effect in patients with TIA or stroke that might inform the design of clinical trials of aspirin and clopidogrel in the acute phase. METHODS: A 30-day course of aspirin and clopidogrel (both 75 mg daily) was given to high-risk patients with TIA or minor ischemic stroke seen acutely in the EXPRESS study clinic from April 1, 2002, to March 31, 2009. Clopidogrel was stopped after 30 days and aspirin continued. Recurrent events were ascertained at face-to-face follow-up. RESULTS: A total of 320 patients were prescribed a 30-day course of aspirin and clopidogrel acutely after TIA or minor stroke. There were 5 recurrent ischemic strokes and 7 TIAs during the aspirin and clopidogrel treatment period, but no strokes and 4 TIAs during the 30 days after stopping clopidogrel. A similar temporal trend in stroke risk was seen in the 487 patients prescribed aspirin alone in the acute phase, with 12 and 5 strokes in the equivalent time periods. The upper 95% confidence intervals of the observed 0% risk of stroke during the 30 days after stopping clopidogrel was 1.15% overall. CONCLUSION: Although larger studies are required, our findings suggest there is unlikely to be a large rebound effect after discontinuation of a 30-day course of clopidogrel in acute TIA and minor ischemic stroke. However, planned trials of aspirin and clopidogrel in the acute phase after TIA or stroke should still follow-up beyond the cessation of clopidogrel treatment.