Challenging the FDA Black Box Warning for High Aspirin Dose With Ticagrelor in Patients With Diabetes

  1. Victor L. Serebruany
  1. Wegman’s Pharmacy, Ithaca, New York
  1. Corresponding author: James J. DiNicolantonio, jjdinicol{at}


Ticagrelor, a novel reversible antiplatelet agent, has a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) black box warning to avoid maintenance doses of aspirin (ASA) >100 mg/daily. This restriction is based on the hypothesis that ASA doses >100 mg somehow decreased ticagrelor’s benefit in the Platelet Inhibition and Patient Outcomes (PLATO) U.S. cohort. However, these data are highly postrandomized, come from a very small subgroup in PLATO (57% of patients in the U.S. site), and make no biological sense. Moreover, the ticagrelor-ASA interaction was not significant by any multivariate Cox regression analyses. The Complete Response Review for ticagrelor indicates that for U.S. PLATO patients, an ASA dose >300 mg was not a significant interaction for vascular outcomes. In the ticagrelor-ASA >300 mg cohort, all-cause and vascular mortality were not significantly increased (hazard ratio [HR] 1.27 [95% CI 0.84–1.93], P = 0.262 and 1.39 [0.87–2.2], P = 0.170), respectively. Furthermore, for major adverse cardiovascular events (MACEs), 30-day all-cause mortality, and 30-day vascular mortality, the strongest interaction is the diabetes-ASA interaction. That is, patients who had diabetes had significantly fewer MACEs through study end (0.49 [0.34–0.63], P < 0.0001), significantly less 30-day all-cause mortality (0.33 [0.20–0.56], P < 0.0001), and significantly less 30-day vascular mortality (0.35 [0.22–0.55], P < 0.0001), respectively, when given high-dose (300–325 mg) ASA, regardless of treatment (clopidogrel or ticagrelor) assignment. The black box warning for the use of maintenance ASA doses >100 mg with ticagrelor is inappropriate for patients with diabetes and not evidence based.

  • Received June 6, 2012.
  • Accepted July 8, 2012.

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