Patient-Oriented Evidence That Matters

Clopidogrel Plus Aspirin Provides More Net Benefit Than Aspirin Alone After Minor Stroke or TIA


Am Fam Physician. 2019 Feb 1;99(3):188-189.

Clinical Question

Does adding clopidogrel (Plavix) to aspirin following a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or minor stroke safely improve outcomes?

Bottom Line

This study provides support for a strategy of adding clopidogrel to aspirin for the first week or so after a minor ischemic stroke or TIA because this is when the greatest benefit occurs. Harms were spread fairly evenly throughout the study period. (Level of Evidence = 1b)


The CHANCE trial was a Chinese study that found improved outcomes with no increase in bleeding risk for patients with minor ischemic stroke or TIA who were given aspirin plus clopidogrel for three weeks. This current study broadens the population to include non-Chinese patients, uses a higher loading dose of clopidogrel (600 mg instead of 300 mg), and continues the combined clopidogrel plus aspirin for 90 days. The investigators identified patients with a minor stroke (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score of 1 to 3 points) or high-risk TIA (ABCD2 score of at least 4 points) and randomized them to receive either aspirin alone or a 600-mg loading dose of clopidogrel, then 75 mg clopidogrel daily plus aspirin. The aspirin dose varied by site from 50 mg to 325 mg per day based on physician preference, but the recommended dosage was 162 mg daily for five days, followed by 81 mg daily. All patients were recruited within 12 hours of symptom onset. The primary outcome was a composite of ischemic stroke, myocardial infarction, or vascular death, and the secondary outcome was recurrent ischemic stroke within 90 days. A total of 4,881 patients were recruited and randomized, but the trial was stopped early because it reached a prespecified level of increased intracranial hemorrhage. Rates of loss to follow-up were similar between groups (6% to 7%) and more than one-fourth of patients in each group stopped taking the study medication prematurely. The mean age of participants was 65 years, 45% were women, 20% were black, 43% had a TIA, and

Editor's Note: Dr. Ebell is Deputy Editor for Evidence-Based Medicine for AFP and cofounder and Editor-in-Chief of Essential Evidence Plus, published by Wiley-Blackwell. Dr. Shaughnessy is an Assistant Medical Editor for AFP.

POEMs (patient-oriented evidence that matters) are provided by EssentialEvidence Plus, a point-of-care clinical decision support system published by Wiley-Blackwell. For more information, please see http://www.essentialevidenceplus.com. Copyright Wiley-Blackwell. Used with permission.

For definitions of levels of evidence used in POEMs, see https://www.essentialevidenceplus.com/product/ebm_loe.cfm?show=oxford.

To subscribe to a free podcast of these and other POEMs that appear in AFP, search in iTunes for “POEM of the Week” or go to http://goo.gl/3niWXb.

This series is coordinated by Sumi Sexton, MD, Editor-in-Chief.

A collection of POEMs published in AFP is available at https://www.aafp.org/afp/poems.



Want to use this article elsewhere? Get Permissions

CME Quiz

More in AFP

Editor's Collections

Related Content

More in Pubmed


Jan 15, 2020

Access the latest issue of American Family Physician

Read the Issue

Email Alerts

Don't miss a single issue. Sign up for the free AFP email table of contents.

Sign Up Now

Navigate this Article