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Efficacy and Safety of Antiplatelet Therapies in Symptomatic Peripheral Artery Disease: A Systematic Review and Network Meta-Analysis

[ Vol. 19 , Issue. 5 ]


Marco De Carlo*, Giovanni Di Minno, Tobias Sayre, Mir Sohail Fazeli, Gaye Siliman and Claudio Cimminiello   Pages 542 - 555 ( 14 )


Background: Clopidogrel monotherapy is guideline-recommended in symptomatic peripheral artery disease (PAD). The advent of new antithrombotic strategies prompts an updated analysis of available evidence on antiplatelet therapy for PAD.

Methods: We searched MEDLINE, Embase and CENTRAL through January 2019 for randomised controlled trials and observational studies comparing antiplatelet therapies as monotherapy, dual therapy, or combination with anticoagulants. Efficacy (major adverse cardiovascular events, acute or chronic limb ischaemia, vascular amputation, peripheral revascularisation) and safety (all-cause mortality and overall bleeding) outcomes were evaluated via Bayesian network meta-analyses.

Results: We analysed 26 randomised controlled trials. Clopidogrel (hazard ratio, HR, 0.78; 95% credible interval [CrI] 0.65-0.93) and ticagrelor (HR 0.80; 95% CrI 0.65-0.98) significantly reduced major adverse cardiovascular events risk compared with aspirin. No significant difference was observed for dual antiplatelet therapy with clopidogrel and aspirin. Vorapaxar significantly reduced limb ischaemia and revascularisation compared with placebo, while dual antiplatelet therapy with clopidogrel and aspirin showed a trend for reduced risk of amputation compared with aspirin (risk ratio 0.68; 95% CrI 0.43-1.04). For all-cause mortality, picotamide, vorapaxar, dipyridamole with aspirin, and ticlopidine showed a significantly lower risk of all-cause mortality vs aspirin. Clopidogrel and ticagrelor showed similar overall bleeding risk vs aspirin, while dual antiplatelet therapy with clopidogrel and aspirin significantly increased bleeding risk.

Conclusion: This updated network meta-analysis confirms that clopidogrel significantly decreases the risk of major adverse cardiovascular events compared with aspirin, without increasing bleeding risk. Clopidogrel should remain a mainstay of PAD treatment, at least in patients at higher bleeding risk.


Antiplatelet therapies, lower extremity artery disease, network meta-analysis, peripheral artery disease, systematic literature review, clopidogrel monotherapy.


Cardiothoracic and Vascular Department, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria Pisana, Pisa, Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Federico II University Hospital, Naples, Doctor Evidence, Santa Monica, CA, Doctor Evidence, Santa Monica, CA, Doctor Evidence, Santa Monica, CA, Research and Study Center of the Italian Society of Angiology and Vascular Pathology (Societa Italiana di Angiologia e Patologia Vascolare, SIAPAV), Milan

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