A new study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, investigated the effect of adding clopidogrel (plavix) to aspirin in patients with atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation is a common cardiac arrhythmia or abnormal heart rhythm. Vitamin K antagonists reduce the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation but are considered unsuitable in many patients, who usually receive aspirin instead. A total of 7,554 patients with atrial fibrillation who had an increased risk of stroke and for whom vitamin K–antagonist therapy was unsuitable were randomly assigned to receive plavix or placebo, once daily, in addition to aspirin.
The study found that patients with atrial fibrillation for whom vitamin K–antagonist therapy was unsuitable, the addition of plavix to aspirin reduced the risk of major vascular events, especially stroke, but increased the risk of major hemorrhage.
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