Bottom line: Antipsychotic agents used in patients with dementia may create increased risk of death. Potential benefit needs to be carefully weighted against this serious harm.
Citation: Gill S, Bronskill SE, Normand SL, et al. Antipsychotic drug use and mortality in older adults with dementia. Ann Intern Med. 2007 June 5;146(11):775-786.
Background: Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) manifests as claudication and limb ischemia affecting 8.5 million Americans. Atherosclerotic disease in the periphery also reflects increased risk for ischemic events in the coronary and cranial circulations. Both antiplatelet agents and anticoagulation will decrease the probability of thrombus formation, although this must be weighed against bleeding risk.
Study design: Randomized, open-label, multicenter trial
Setting: Eighty centers in Europe, Asia, Australia, and North America
Synopsis: This trial randomized more than 2,000 patients with PAD to treatment with antiplatelet therapy (aspirin, ticlopidine, or clopidogrel) with or without additional anticoagulation.
During the next 3.5 years serious vascular events occurred at approximately the same rate in both combination and monotherapy groups (15.9% versus 17.4%, p=0.37). There was no significant difference between the occurrence of the composite ischemic endpoints or any of the individual endpoints. There was, however, a significantly higher rate of both moderate and life-threatening bleeding in the combination therapy group.
The 4% risk of life-threatening hemorrhage in the combination group exceeded the 1.2% rate of the monotherapy group creating a relative risk for bleeding of 3.4.
This trial demonstrates that for patients with PAD on antiplatelet therapy, the increased rate of bleeding without significant added benefit makes addition of warfarin inadvisable.1 Evidence of utility of combination therapy from studies in other arterial systems provides mixed results.2-4 Based on the results of this study, combination therapy cannot be advocated if the primary symptoms are from PAD.
Bottom line: This study provides further evidence that more is not always better when it comes to preventing thrombosis and ischemia in the peripheral arterial system. Antiplatelet agents are preferable for PAD to combination antiplatelet plus anticoagulation.
- The Warfarin Antiplatelet Vascular Evaluation Trial Investigators. Oral anticoagulant and antiplatelet therapy and peripheral arterial disease. N Engl J Med. 2007 Jul 19;357(3):217-227.
- Hurlen M, Abdelnoor M, Smith P, et al. Warfarin, aspirin, or both after myocardial infarction. N Engl J Med. 2002 Sep 26;347(13):969-974.
- Mohr JP, Thompson JL, Lazar RM, et al. A comparison of warfarin and aspirin for the prevention of recurrent ischemic stroke. N Engl J Med. 2001 Nov 15;345(20):1444-1451.
- The ESPRIT Study Group. Medium intensity oral anticoagulants versus aspirin after cerebral ischaemia of arterial origin (ESPRIT): a randomised controlled trial. Lancet Neurol. 2007 Feb;6:115-124.
Background: Prior research has demonstrated that 2.1% of patients will suffer a stroke in the year following a heart attack. Persistent and paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF) are well recognized as risk factors for stroke, but the significance of transient ischemia-induced AF is less clear.
Study design: Retrospective cohort study
Setting: Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong
Synopsis: The study involved patients admitted for acute inferior ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction (MI) with preserved left ventricular ejection fraction.
Transient AF that had converted back to normal sinus rhythm by discharge was observed in 14% of patients after the MI. Over the next three years the transient AF patients were 15 times more likely than those who remained in sinus rhythm during the index hospitalization to have recurrent AF (34% versus 2%). Despite antiplatelet therapy in both groups, ischemic stroke developed in 22% of patients who had transient AF following their MI, compared with only 4% in patients who did not (HR 5.1, confidence interval 2.4-11.2). Cerebrovascular accidents generally occurred simultaneously with recurrence of paroxysmal AF.1-2