Daniel E. Harris , Arron Lacey, Ashley Akbari, Daniel R. Obaid, Dave A. Smith, Geraint H. Jenkins, James P. Barry, Mike B. Gravenor, and Julian P. Halcox

Journal of the American Heart Association. 2019;8:e012812


Background Early discontinuation of P2Y12 antagonists post–percutaneous coronary intervention may increase risk of stent thrombosis or nonstent recurrent myocardial infarction. Our aims were to (1) analyze the early discontinuation rate of P2Y12 antagonists post–percutaneous coronary intervention, (2) explore factors associated with early discontinuation, and (3) analyze the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (death, acute coronary syndrome, revascularization, or stroke) associated with discontinuation from a prespecified prescribing instruction of 1 year.

Method and Results We studied 2090 patients (2011–2015) who were recommended for clopidogrel for 12 months (+aspirin) post–percutaneous coronary intervention within a retrospective observational population cohort. Relationships between clopidogrel discontinuation and major adverse cardiac events were evaluated over 18‐month follow‐up. Discontinuation of clopidogrel in the first 4 quarters was low at 1.1%, 2.6%, 3.7%, and 6.1%, respectively. Previous revascularization, previous ischemic stroke, and age >80 years were independent predictors of early discontinuation. In a time‐dependent multiple regression model, clopidogrel discontinuation and bleeding (hazard ratio=1.82 [1.01–3.30] and hazard ratio=5.30 [3.14–8.94], respectively) were independent predictors of major adverse cardiac events as were age <49 and ≥70 years (versus those aged 50–59 years), hypertension, chronic kidney disease stage 4+, previous revascularization, ischemic stroke, and thromboembolism. Furthermore, in those with both bleeding and clopidogrel discontinuation, hazard ratio for major adverse cardiac events was 9.34 (3.39–25.70).

Conclusions Discontinuation of clopidogrel is low in the first year post–percutaneous coronary intervention, where a clear discharge instruction to treat for 1 year is provided. Whereas this is reassuring from the population level, at an individual level discontinuation earlier than the intended duration is associated with an increased rate of adverse events, most notably in those with both bleeding and discontinuation.


Clinical Perspective

What Is New? In this real‐world study following patients discharged post–percutaneous coronary intervention where the duration of dual antiplatelet therapy was known, discontinuation of P2Y12 antagonist therapy was low and much lower than reported in other studies.

Despite the low discontinuation rate, it was an important predictor of major adverse outcomes in this population, especially in those with concomitant bleeding.

What Are the Clinical Implications? Discontinuation of P2Y12 antagonist therapy earlier than intended is associated with an increased rate of adverse events, highlighting the importance of processes optimizing concordance with evidence‐based preventative therapy post–percutaneous coronary intervention.