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Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2011 Oct;72(4):697-706. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2011.03949.x.

Variability in response to clopidogrel: how important are pharmacogenetics and drug interactions?

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Department of Medicine & Therapeutics, Chinese University of Hong Kong, China.


Clopidogrel is a pro-drug which is converted to an active metabolite that selectively blocks ADP-dependent platelet activation and aggregation. The main enzyme responsible for activating clopidogrel is the cytochrome P450 (CYP) isoenzyme CYP2C19, which is polymorphic. There is a growing body of literature showing that carriers of variant CYP2C19 alleles have impaired ability to metabolize clopidogrel (i.e. poor metabolizers), which is associated with decreased inhibition of platelet aggregation and increased cardiovascular risk. Some proton pump inhibitors are also metabolized by the CYP2C19 enzyme and often given together with clopidogrel to reduce gastrointestinal side effects. In particular, omeprazole has been shown to inhibit the CYP-mediated metabolism of clopidogrel, and some studies have shown that the combination was associated with a higher incidence of cardiovascular adverse reactions than clopidogrel given alone. However, a recent randomized controlled trial demonstrated no significant difference in adverse cardiovascular events for patients on the combination of clopidogrel and omeprazole compared with clopidogrel alone. This current review aims to summarize the role of pharmacogenetics and drug interactions in determining variability in response to clopidogrel.

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