Triflusal for preventing serious vascular events in people at high risk

Triflusal is not clearly better than aspirin for preventing serious vascular events such as strokes, heart attacks and deaths from vascular disease. Triflusal and aspirin are drugs that prevent blood clots forming. When blood clots form in arteries and block the flow of blood, they can cause a stroke, heart attack or other serious circulatory problems. These are called serious vascular events. People who have had a stroke, a heart attack or symptoms of blood clots in other arteries are at high risk of experiencing further vascular events. There is strong evidence that in people who have had a vascular event, aspirin reduces the risk of further events. This review compared the effects of triflusal with aspirin in people who had had a vascular event. It did not find any evidence that triflusal was definitely better than aspirin for preventing further serious vascular events, although triflusal did seem to cause fewer bleeding complications than aspirin.

Authors' conclusions: 

No significant differences were found between triflusal and aspirin for secondary prevention of serious vascular events in patients with stroke or TIA and AMI. However, our review cannot exclude moderate differences in efficacy. Triflusal was associated with a lower risk of hemorrhagic complications.

Read the full abstract...

Aspirin is the standard treatment for secondary prevention of stroke and other vascular events. Several studies suggest that triflusal may have a better safety profile.


To determine in people at high risk of vascular events whether triflusal is an effective and safe treatment for primary and secondary prevention of serious vascular events.

Search strategy: 

We searched the trials registers of the following Cochrane Review Groups: Stroke Group (last searched October 2004), Heart Group, Peripheral Vascular Diseases Group and Metabolic and Endocrine Disorders Group (last searched May 2003). In addition, we searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) (The Cochrane Library Issue 2, 2003), MEDLINE (1977 to 2003) and EMBASE (1980 to 2003). We searched reference lists and contacted researchers in the field, authors of relevant trials and the drug manufacturer.

Selection criteria: 

Randomised and quasi-randomised studies comparing triflusal with placebo or aspirin in people at high risk of vascular events.

Data collection and analysis: 

Two authors independently assessed trial quality and extracted data. The primary outcome was a serious vascular event (non-fatal acute myocardial infarction (AMI), non-fatal ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke, or vascular death). Other efficacy and safety measures collected were frequency of different vascular events, adverse events, minor and major hemorrhages.

Main results: 

(1) Aspirin versus triflusal: five studies enrolled patients with stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) (4 trials; 2944 patients; followed for 6 to 47 months) or AMI (one trial; 2275 patients; followed for 35 days). Entry criteria were similar within each subgroup of patients. Patient groups were appropriately selected and well matched. The primary outcome in all trials was a composite outcome of vascular events. Trials had no important bias except in one study (217 patients). For the primary outcome of a serious vascular event there was no significant difference between triflusal and aspirin; the odds ratio (OR) was 1.04 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.87 to 1.23). Significant differences were found for frequency of hemorrhages, both minor (OR 1.60, 95% CI 1.31 to 1.95) and major (OR 2.34, 95% CI 1.58 to 3.46) and for non-hemorrhagic gastrointestinal adverse events (OR 0.84, 95% CI 0.75 to 0.95). Sensitivity analysis of well versus poorly allocated trials showed no significant differences. (2) Triflusal versus placebo: two trials enrolled patients with unstable angina (281 patients) or peripheral arteriopathy (122 patients), who were followed for 6 months. Triflusal was associated with a reduction in serious vascular events (OR 2.29, 95% CI 1.01 to 5.19; OR greater than 1 favours triflusal) and with a higher frequency of adverse events (OR 1.68, 95% CI 1.00 to 2.80).