What is the role of ticagrelor in the treatment of unstable angina?

Updated: Oct 01, 2020
  • Author: Walter Tan, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Eric H Yang, MD  more...
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Ticagrelor is indicated to reduce the rate of thrombotic CV events following ACS. Ticagrelor also reduces the rate of stent thrombosis in patients who have undergone stent placement for treatment of ACS. In September 2015, the indication was expanded to include patients with a history of MI more than 1 year previously. It is used in addition to low-dose aspirin (75-100 mg/day). [54]

The key points with respect to ticagrelor are (1) that this agent can also be used for STEMI patients and (2) that improved survival is achieved at 1 year, with all-cause mortality reduced from 5.9% to 4.5%. [21] This 1.4% absolute risk reduction in the death rate is attributed to a possible increase in endogenous circulating adenosine, in that ticagrelor is known to inhibit its uptake into erythrocytes. This may also be the cause of the agent’s unique side effect of transient dyspnea.

Approval of ticagrelor use beyond 1 year in patients with a history of MI is based on the PEGASUS TIMI-54 study, a large-scale outcomes trial involving over 21,000 patients. [55] PEGASUS TIMI-54 investigated ticagrelor 60 mg twice daily plus low-dose aspirin, compared to placebo plus low-dose aspirin, for the long-term prevention of CV death, heart attack, and stroke in patients who had experienced a heart attack 1-3 years prior to study enrollment. In patients with an MI more than 1 year previously, treatment with ticagrelor significantly reduced the risk of CV death, MI, or stroke compared with placebo. [55]

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