Plavix vs. Brilinta: Pick Your Poison

by Dr. Stephen Parker (Article selection and Commentary) on October 8, 2010

nejm seal Plavix vs. Brilinta:  Pick your poison

This was the original research in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine comparing Prasugrel (Brilinta) with Clopidogrel (Plavix.) The bottom line is that while Brilinta prevented more deaths from heart attacks, it increased the risk of fatal bleeding… No difference it fatal outcomes, take your pick. (Why am I thinking of Robert Frost’s Poem Fire and Ice>)

Prasugrel versus Clopidogrel in Patients with Acute Coronary Syndromes

New England Journal Of Medicine
November 15, 2007

Background

Dual-antiplatelet therapy with aspirin and a thienopyridine is a cornerstone of treatment to prevent thrombotic complications of acute coronary syndromes and percutaneous coronary intervention.

Methods

To compare prasugrel, a new thienopyridine, with clopidogrel, we randomly assigned 13,608 patients with moderate-to-high-risk acute coronary syndromes with scheduled percutaneous coronary intervention to receive prasugrel (a 60-mg loading dose and a 10-mg daily maintenance dose) or clopidogrel (a 300-mg loading dose and a 75-mg daily maintenance dose), for 6 to 15 months. The primary efficacy end point was death from cardiovascular causes, nonfatal myocardial infarction, or nonfatal stroke. The key safety end point was major bleeding.

Results

The primary efficacy end point occurred in 12.1% of patients receiving clopidogrel and 9.9% of patients receiving prasugrel (hazard ratio for prasugrel vs. clopidogrel, 0.81; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.73 to 0.90; P<0.001). We also found significant reductions in the prasugrel group in the rates of myocardial infarction (9.7% for clopidogrel vs. 7.4% for prasugrel; P<0.001), urgent target-vessel revascularization (3.7% vs. 2.5%; P<0.001), and stent thrombosis (2.4% vs. 1.1%; P<0.001). Major bleeding was observed in 2.4% of patients receiving prasugrel and in 1.8% of patients receiving clopidogrel (hazard ratio, 1.32; 95% CI, 1.03 to 1.68; P=0.03). Also greater in the prasugrel group was the rate of life-threatening bleeding (1.4% vs. 0.9%; P=0.01), including nonfatal bleeding (1.1% vs. 0.9%; hazard ratio, 1.25; P=0.23) and fatal bleeding (0.4% vs. 0.1%; P=0.002).

In patients with acute coronary syndromes with scheduled percutaneous coronary intervention, prasugrel therapy was associated with significantly reduced rates of ischemic events, including stent thrombosis, but with an increased risk of major bleeding, including fatal bleeding. Overall mortality did not differ significantly between treatment groups. (ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00097591.)

Source

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

Robert Frost

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