Background: The CAPRIE study showed the superiority of clopidogrel over acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) for reducing the combined risk of major atherothrombotic events in patients with recent myocardial infarction (MI), recent ischaemic stroke (IS) or established peripheral arterial disease. The benefit of clopidogrel over ASA is amplified in high-risk patients. Proof of concept for the benefit of clopidogrel in addition to ASA in patients with coronary manifestations of atherothrombosis was provided by the CURE trial. Methods: MATCH is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial that compares clopidogrel and ASA versus clopidogrel alone in high-risk patients with recently symptomatic cerebrovascular disease. Eligible patients have experienced a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or IS within the last 3 months and have evidence of at least 1 additional risk factor within the last 3 years (prior IS, MI, stable or unstable angina pectoris, diabetes or symptomatic peripheral arterial disease). Patients were randomized to receive ASA 75 mg once daily or placebo, with both groups receiving clopidogrel 75 mg once daily as part of standard therapy. The primary end point is the composite of IS, MI, vascular death and rehospitalization for an acute ischaemic event. The duration of treatment and follow-up is 18 months for each patient. Results: Enrolment was completed in April 2002, with 7,599 patients randomized to receive the study medication. The mean age at randomization was 66 years, and the qualifying event was IS in 78.9% of patients and TIA in 21.1%. The baseline features of the study cohort indicate a population that is at a high risk for atherothrombotic recurrence. Conclusion: MATCH is a major ongoing trial that will provide important data on the benefit of clopidogrel and ASA compared with clopidogrel alone for reduction of vascular ischaemic events in patients with recent TIA or IS who are at high risk of atherothrombotic event recurrence.

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