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Am J Cardiovasc Drugs. 2008;8(2):91-112.

Aspirin and platelet adenosine diphosphate receptor antagonists in acute coronary syndromes and percutaneous coronary intervention: role in therapy and strategies to overcome resistance.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA. DLBHATTMD@ALUM.MIT.EDU


Platelet activation and aggregation are key components in the cascade of events causing thrombosis following plaque rupture. Antiplatelet therapy is essential in the treatment of patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) and for those requiring percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is a well established antiplatelet therapy and is mandated for secondary prevention of cardiovascular events following ACS. In patients with ACS, the addition of clopidogrel to aspirin is more effective than aspirin alone. For patients undergoing PCI, dual antiplatelet therapy with aspirin and clopidogrel is warranted. Aspirin should be continued indefinitely after PCI. Pretreatment of patients with clopidogrel prior to PCI lowers the incidence of cardiovascular events, yet the optimum timing of drug administration and dose are still being investigated, as is the duration of therapy following PCI. Late-stent thrombosis with drug-eluting stents has pushed the recommendation for duration of clopidogrel therapy up to 1 year and perhaps beyond, in patients without risks for bleeding. The concepts of aspirin and clopidogrel resistance are important clinical questions. No uniform definition exists for aspirin or clopidogrel resistance. Measurements of resistance are often highly variable and do not necessarily correlate with clinical resistance. Noncompliance remains the most prominent mode of resistance. Screening of selected patient populations for resistance or pharmacologic intervention of those patients termed 'resistant' warrants further study.

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