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Dual antiplatelet therapy for secondary prevention of coronary artery disease
  1. Sophie Degrauwe1,
  2. Thomas Pilgrim2,
  3. Adel Aminian3,
  4. Stephane Noble4,
  5. Pascal Meier4 and
  6. Juan F Iglesias1
  1. 1Department of Cardiology, Lausanne University Hospital, Lausanne, Switzerland
  2. 2Department of Cardiology, Bern University Hospital, Bern, Switzerland
  3. 3Division of Cardiology, Charleroi University Hospital, Charleroi, Belgium
  4. 4Division of Cardiology, Geneva University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Juan F Iglesias; juan.fernando.iglesias{at}


Dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) combining aspirin and a P2Y12 receptor inhibitor has been consistently shown to reduce recurrent major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) or undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) for stable coronary artery disease (CAD) compared with aspirin monotherapy, but at the expense of an increased risk of major bleeding. Nevertheless, the optimal duration of DAPT for secondary prevention of CAD remains uncertain, owing to the conflicting results of several large randomised trials. Among patients with stable CAD undergoing PCI with drug-eluting stents (DES), shorter durations of DAPT (3–6 months) were shown non-inferior to 12 or 24 months duration with respect to MACE, but reduced the rates of major bleeding. Contrariwise, prolonged DAPT durations (18–48 months) reduced the incidence of myocardial infarction and stent thrombosis, but at a cost of an increased risk of major bleeding and all-cause mortality. Until more evidence becomes available, the choice of optimal DAPT regimen and duration for patients with CAD requires a tailored approach based on the patient clinical presentation, baseline risk profile and management strategy. Future studies are however needed to identify patients who may derive benefit from shortened or extended DAPT courses for secondary prevention of CAD based on their individual ischaemic and bleeding risk. Based on limited evidence, 12 months duration of DAPT is currently recommended in patients with ACS irrespective of their management strategy, but large ongoing randomised trials are currently assessing the efficacy and safety of a short-term DAPT strategy (3–6 months) for patients with ACS undergoing PCI with newer generation DES. Finally, several ongoing, large-scale, randomised trials are challenging the current concept of DAPT by investigating P2Y12 receptor inhibitors as single antiplatelet therapy and may potentially shift the paradigm of antiplatelet therapy after PCI in the near future. This article provides a contemporary state-of-the-art review of the current evidence on DAPT for secondary prevention of patients with CAD and its future perspectives.

  • antiplatelet therapy
  • coronary artery disease

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  • Contributors Dr JFI (corresponding author) attests that the coauthors have participated in the redaction of this manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement There are no additional data available for this paper.

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