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BACKGROUND: We hypothesised that ticagrelor, in combination with aspirin for 1 month, followed by ticagrelor alone, improves outcomes after percutaneous coronary intervention compared with standard antiplatelet regimens. METHODS: GLOBAL LEADERS was a randomised, open-label superiority trial at 130 sites in 18 countries. Patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention with a biolimus A9-eluting stent for stable coronary artery disease or acute coronary syndromes were randomly assigned (1:1) to 75-100 mg aspirin daily plus 90 mg ticagrelor twice daily for 1 month, followed by 23 months of ticagrelor monotherapy, or standard dual antiplatelet therapy with 75-100 mg aspirin daily plus either 75 mg clopidogrel daily (for patients with stable coronary artery disease) or 90 mg ticagrelor twice daily (for patients with acute coronary syndromes) for 12 months, followed by aspirin monotherapy for 12 months. Randomisation was concealed, stratified by centre and clinical presentation (stable coronary artery disease vs acute coronary syndrome), and blocked, with randomly varied block sizes of two and four. The primary endpoint at 2 years was a composite of all-cause mortality or non-fatal centrally adjudicated new Q-wave myocardial infarction as assessed by a core lab in a blinded manner. The key secondary safety endpoint was site-reported bleeding assessed according to the Bleeding Academic Research Consortium criteria (grade 3 or 5). Analysis was by intention to treat. This trial is registered with, number NCT01813435, and is closed to new participants, with follow-up completed. FINDINGS: Between July 1, 2013, and Nov 9, 2015, 15 968 participants were randomly assigned, 7980 to the experimental group and 7988 to the control group. At 2 years, 304 (3·81%) participants in the experimental group had died or had a non-fatal centrally adjudicated new Q-wave myocardial infarction, compared with 349 (4·37%) participants in the control group (rate ratio 0·87 [95% CI 0·75-1·01]; p=0·073]). There was no evidence for a difference in treatment effects for the primary endpoint across prespecified subgroups of acute coronary syndromes and stable coronary artery disease (p=0·93). Grade 3 or 5 bleeding occurred in 163 participants in the experimental group and 169 in the control group (2·04% vs 2·12%; rate ratio 0·97 [95% CI 0·78-1·20]; p=0·77). INTERPRETATION: Ticagrelor in combination with aspirin for 1 month followed by ticagrelor alone for 23 months was not superior to 12 months of standard dual antiplatelet therapy followed by 12 months of aspirin alone in the prevention of all-cause mortality or new Q-wave myocardial infarction 2 years after percutaneous coronary intervention. FUNDING: AstraZeneca, Biosensors, and The Medicines Company.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





940 - 949


Adenosine, Aged, Aspirin, Clopidogrel, Coronary Angiography, Coronary Artery Disease, Drug Therapy, Combination, Drug-Eluting Stents, Female, Humans, Intention to Treat Analysis, Male, Middle Aged, Myocardial Infarction, Percutaneous Coronary Intervention, Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors, Purinergic P2Y Receptor Antagonists, Ticagrelor, Ticlopidine