Outcomes Research in Review

Dual vs Triple Therapy Following ACS or PCI in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation

Lopes RD, Heizer G, Aronson R, et al; AUGUSTUS investigators. Antithrombotic therapy after acute coronary syndrome or PCI in atrial fibrillation. N Engl J Med. 2019;380:1509-1524.



Study Overview

Objective. To compare the benefit of apixaban with a vitamin K antagonist and compare aspirin with placebo in patients with atrial fibrillation who had acute coronary syndrome or underwent percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and were planning to take a P2Y12 inhibitor.

Design. Multicenter, international, open-label, prospective randomized controlled trial with a 2-by-2 factorial design.

Setting and participants. 4614 patients who had an acute coronary syndrome or had undergone PCI and were planning to take a P2Y12 inhibitor.

Intervention. Patients were assigned by means of an interactive voice-response system to receive apixaban or a vitamin K antagonist and to receive aspirin or matching placebo for 6 months.

Main outcome measures. The primary outcome was major or clinically relevant nonmajor bleeding. Secondary outcomes included death or hospitalization and a composite of ischemic events.

Main results. At 6 months, major or clinically relevant nonmajor bleeding had occurred in 10.5% of the patients receiving apixaban, as compared to 14.7% of those receiving a vitamin K antagonist (hazard ratio [HR], 0.69; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.58-0.81, P < 0.001 for both noninferiority and superiority), and in 16.1% of the patients receiving aspirin, as compared with 9.0% of those receiving placebo (HR 1.89; 95% CI, 1.59-2.24; P < 0.001). Patients in the apixaban group had a lower incidence of death or hospitalization than those in the vitamin K antagonist group (23.5% versus 27.4%; HR 0.83; 95% CI, 0.74-0.93; P = 0.002) and similar incidence of ischemic events.

Conclusion. Among patients with atrial fibrillation and recent acute coronary syndrome or PCI treated with a P2Y12 inhibitor, an antithrombotic regimen that included apixaban without aspirin resulted in less bleeding and fewer hospitalizations without significant differences in the incidence of ischemic events than the regimens that included a vitamin K antagonist, aspirin, or both.

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