CONTEXT: Abciximab, a potent inhibitor of the platelet glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor, reduces thrombotic complications in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Because of its potent inhibition of platelet aggregation, the effect of abciximab on risk of stroke is a concern. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether abciximab use among patients undergoing PCI is associated with an increased risk of stroke. DESIGN: Combined analysis of data from 4 double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trials (EPIC, CAPTURE, EPILOG, and EPISTENT) conducted between November 1991 and October 1997 at a total of 257 academic and community hospitals in the United States and Europe. PATIENTS: A total of 8555 patients undergoing PCI with or without stent deployment for a variety of indications were randomly assigned to receive a bolus and infusion of abciximab (n = 5476) or matching placebo (n = 3079). One treatment group in EPIC received a bolus of abciximab only. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Risk of hemorrhagic and nonhemorrhagic stroke within 30 days of treatment among abciximab and placebo groups. RESULTS: No significant difference in stroke rate was observed between patients assigned abciximab (n = 22 [0.40%]) and those assigned placebo (n = 9 [0.29%]; P =.46). Excluding the EPIC abciximab bolus-only group, there were 9 strokes (0.30%) among 3023 patients who received placebo and 15 (0.32%) in 4680 patients treated with abciximab bolus plus infusion, a difference of 0.02% (95% confidence interval [CI], -0.23% to 0.28%). The rate of nonhemorrhagic stroke was 0.17% in patients treated with abciximab and 0.20% in patients treated with placebo (difference, -0.03%; 95% CI, -0.23% to 0.17%), and the rates of hemorrhagic stroke were 0.15% and 0.10%, respectively (difference, 0.05%; 95% CI, -0.11% to 0.21%). Among patients treated with abciximab, the rate of hemorrhagic stroke in patients receiving standard-dose heparin in EPIC, CAPTURE, and EPILOG was higher than in those receiving low-dose heparin in the EPILOG and EPISTENT trials (0.27% vs 0.04%; P =.057). CONCLUSIONS: Abciximab in addition to aspirin and heparin does not increase the risk of stroke in patients undergoing PCI. Patients undergoing PCI and treated with abciximab should receive low-dose, weight-adjusted heparin.

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J A M A: The Journal of the American Medical Association
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Akkerhuis, M., Lincoff, M., Tcheng, J., Anderson, K., Balog, C., Califf, R., … Boersma, E. (2001). Risk of stroke associated with abciximab among patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention. J A M A: The Journal of the American Medical Association. Retrieved from