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J Thromb Thrombolysis. 2006 Oct;22(2):139-50.

Possible mechanisms of drug-induced aspirin and clopidogrel resistance.

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Pharmacy and Medicine, Department of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University at Buffalo, Cooke Hall 317, Buffalo, NY 14260, USA.


Aspirin (ASA) and clopidogrel have been identified as standard of care in the prevention of major cardiovascular events. Aspirin irreversibly inhibits the cyclooxygenase-1 (COX-1) enzyme, whereas non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) reversibly inhibit the COX-1 enzyme. An analysis of the literature revealed a statistically significant decrease in clinical benefit of ASA with concomitant administration of ibuprofen. Another NSAID, diclofenac, showed minimal effect on the inhibition of platelet aggregation when administered with ASA. Furthermore, the selective COX-2 inhibitor, rofecoxib, was not shown to influence the effect of ASA. Clopidogrel is metabolized to an active thiol metabolite by the CYP 3A4 enzyme. Some HMG CoA reductase inhibitors have the ability to inhibit the CYP 3A4 enzyme, which can result in a possible interaction if administered concomitantly with clopidogrel. Studies have demonstrated clopidogrel's platelet inhibition being significantly attenuated by atorvastatin. However in a post-hoc analysis, it was demonstrated that there was no difference in clinical outcomes between patients taking clopidogrel and HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors metabolized by and not metabolized by CYP 3A4. Data suggest that the interaction observed involving clopidogrel and HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors appears to be significant in-vitro. Therefore, practitioners should advise patients receiving chronic aspirin therapy to limit the use of ibuprofen and may consider concomitant administration of clopidogrel with HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors without regard for the drug interaction. The intent of this paper is to review the literature discussing possible mechanisms of drug-induced aspirin and clopidogrel resistance and discuss whether the interactions translate into clinical effects.

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