Antiplatelet drug

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]


An antiplatelet drug is a member of a class of pharmaceuticals that decreases platelet aggregation and inhibits thrombus formation. They are effective in the arterial circulation, where anticoagulants have little effect.

They are widely used in primary and secondary prevention of thrombotic cerebrovascular or cardiovascular disease.

The Most Important Antiplatelet Drugs

Comparison of oral antiplatelet
P2Y12 (adenosine diphosphate receptors) inhibitors
Drug Group Drug Time to onset/peak action Barriers* Cost (UpToDate 08/2022)
Thienopyridines Ticlopidine(first generation)
Clopidogrel (second generation)
Prasugrel (third generation)

50 to 100 mg: 2 days; 5-7 days
<30 minutes; 4 hours
P2Y12 and CYP2C19
P2Y12 and CYP2C19
$495 ($331 GoodRx)
Non-thienopyridines Ticagrelor <30 minutes; 2 hours None $511
\* Other factors for thienopyridines may include diabetes, obesity, elderly according to the protocol for the ARCTIC trial[1].

COX-2 inhibitor / Cyclooxygenase inhibitors

Phosphodiesterase inhibitors

Glycoprotein IIB/IIIA inhibitors (intravenous use only)

P2Y12 (Adenosine diphosphate receptors) inhibitors


These are prodrugs that require in vivo biotransformation to active metabolite by the cytochrome P450 isoenzymes. With the exception of prasugrel, these drugs are effected by common CYP polymorphisms and less commonly by P2Y12 variants.


These drugs bind directly to P2Y12.

Comparative studies

Are newer thienopyridine (third-generation) agents better than older thienopyridine (second-generation) agents?

Studies of all patients

The TRILOGY ACS randomized controlled trial found no benefit of prasugrel versus clopidogrel (primary outcome: 13.9% vs 16%; hazard ratio 0.91; 0.79 to 1.05; P=0.21) among "patients with unstable angina or myocardial infarction without ST-segment elevation who do not undergo revascularization"[2].

Are non-thienopyridines agents better than thienopyridine (second-generation) agents?

Studies of all patients

The ALPHEUS randomized controlled trial found no benefit of ticagrelor versus clopidogrel among stable coronary patients undergoing high-risk elective PCI (primary outcome in 35% vs 36% of patients)[3].

The POPular AGE randomized controlled trial found no benefit of ticagrelor versus clopidogrel among patients aged 70 years or older with non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome (MACE in 11% vs 12% of patients)[4]

The ISAR-REACT 5 randomized controlled trial found harm of ticagrelor versus prasugrel (primary outcome: 9.3% vs 6.9%; hazard ratio, 1.36; 95% confidence interval, 1.09 to 1.70; P = 0.006) among patients with "acute coronary syndromes and for whom invasive evaluation was planned"[5].

The CHAMPION PCI randomized controlled trial found no benefit of cangrelor versus clopidogrel among patients "before percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) in patients with acute coronary syndromes" (MACE in 7.5% vs 7.1% of patients)[6].

The CHAMPION PLATFORM randomized controlled trial found no benefit of cangrelor added to clopidogrel among patients with acute coronary syndrome before percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) (MACE in 7% vs 8% of patients) percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

Studies of patients with CYP2C19 loss-of-function

The CHANCE-2 randomized controlled trial found benefit of ticagrelor versus clopidogrel (primary outcome: 6% vs 7.6%; hazard ratio, 0.77; 95% confidence interval, 0.64 to 0.94; P = 0.008) among Chinese patients with minor ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) who carried CYP2C19 loss-of-function alleles[5].

Is there a best non-thienopyridine antiplatelet drug?

The POPular Genetics randomized controlled trial found faster onset of action but no benefit of cangrelor versus ticagrelor among patients with "ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) population treated with primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PPCI"[7].

Should drug selection be driven by genetic testing and platelet function testing?

According to the protocol for the ARTIC trial[1], the "VerifyNow P2Y12/aspirin assay measures platelet GPIIb/IIa-dependent aggregation to fibrinogen-coated beads in whole blood"[1]. Variations in function may be due to "insufficient active metabolite generation is the main explanation for clopidogrel antiplatelet response variability, and multiple factors may account for the reduced metabolism: (i) limited intestinal absorption; (ii) polymorphisms in genes encoding for the 2-step process oxidizing clopidogrel into its active metabolite; (iii) interactions with drugs such as lipophilic statins, calcium channel blockers, and proton pump inhibitors. Among these factors, carriage of the Cytochrome P450 CYP2C19*2 polymorphism has been associated with increased risk in stent thrombosis and myocardial infarction especially in patients with ACS who have undergone stent PCI. 6 In addition to the above mechanisms, increased body weight and diabetes have been associated with increased baseline platelet reactivity and a diminished antiplatelet response to clopidogrel"[1].

Guided therapy (drug choice based on genetic testing and platelet function testing may improve outcomes according to a systematic reveiw[8].

Platelet function testing

The ARTIC randomized controlled trial found no benefit from guided therapy with platelet function testing (primary outcomes: 34.6% vs 31.1% ; hazard ratio, 1.13; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.98 to 1.29; P=0.10) among "patients scheduled for coronary stenting"[9]

  • Almost all patients received clopidogrel in the usual care group
  • Only 55% of patients had long-term changes in their therapy based on testing

The ANTARCTIC randomized controlled trial found no benefit from guided therapy with platelet function testing (primary outcomes: 28% vs 28%; hazard ratio 1.003, 95% CI 0·78-1·29; p=0·98) among "patients aged 75 years or older who had undergone coronary stenting for acute coronary syndrome"[10]

Cytochrome P450 CYP2C19 testing

The POPular Genetics randomized controlled trial found benefit from a cytochrome P450 CYP2C19 guided therapy due to lower (minor) bleeding although the MACE was not reduced (primary outcome: 5.1 vs 5.9%;P = 0.44) among patients undergoing primary PCI with stent implantation[11].

  • This trial tested for cytochrome P450 CYP2C19*2 and CYP2C19*2 alleles.
  • The accompanying editorial concluded "the POPular Genetics trial provides strong support for a genotype-guided approach to clopidogrel prescribing in patients of European ancestry"[12].

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Collet JP, Cayla G, Cuisset T, Elhadad S, Rangé G, Vicaut E; et al. (2011). "Randomized comparison of platelet function monitoring to adjust antiplatelet therapy versus standard of care: rationale and design of the assessment with a double randomization of (1) a fixed dose versus a monitoring-guided dose of aspirin and clopidogrel after DES implantation, and (2) treatment interruption versus continuation, 1 year after stenting (ARCTIC) study". Am Heart J. 161 (1): 5–12.e5. doi:10.1016/j.ahj.2010.09.029. PMID 21167334.
  2. Roe MT, Armstrong PW, Fox KA, White HD, Prabhakaran D, Goodman SG; et al. (2012). "Prasugrel versus clopidogrel for acute coronary syndromes without revascularization". N Engl J Med. 367 (14): 1297–309. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1205512. PMID 22920930.
  3. Silvain J, Lattuca B, Beygui F, Rangé G, Motovska Z, Dillinger JG; et al. (2020). "Ticagrelor versus clopidogrel in elective percutaneous coronary intervention (ALPHEUS): a randomised, open-label, phase 3b trial". Lancet. 396 (10264): 1737–1744. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)32236-4. PMID 33202219 Check |pmid= value (help).
  4. Gimbel M, Qaderdan K, Willemsen L, Hermanides R, Bergmeijer T, de Vrey E; et al. (2020). "Clopidogrel versus ticagrelor or prasugrel in patients aged 70 years or older with non-ST-elevation acute coronary syndrome (POPular AGE): the randomised, open-label, non-inferiority trial". Lancet. 395 (10233): 1374–1381. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30325-1. PMID 32334703 Check |pmid= value (help). Review in: Ann Intern Med. 2020 Sep 15;173(6):JC28
  5. 5.0 5.1 Wang Y, Meng X, Wang A, Xie X, Pan Y, Johnston SC; et al. (2021). "Ticagrelor versus Clopidogrel in CYP2C19 Loss-of-Function Carriers with Stroke or TIA". N Engl J Med. 385 (27): 2520–2530. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa2111749. PMID 34708996 Check |pmid= value (help). Review in: Ann Intern Med. 2022 Mar;175(3):JC30
  6. Harrington RA, Stone GW, McNulty S, White HD, Lincoff AM, Gibson CM; et al. (2009). "Platelet inhibition with cangrelor in patients undergoing PCI". N Engl J Med. 361 (24): 2318–29. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa0908628. PMID 19915221.
  7. Ubaid S, Ford TJ, Berry C, Murray HM, Wrigley B, Khan N; et al. (2019). "Cangrelor versus Ticagrelor in Patients Treated with Primary Percutaneous Coronary Intervention: Impact on Platelet Activity, Myocardial Microvascular Function and Infarct Size: A Randomized Controlled Trial". Thromb Haemost. 119 (7): 1171–1181. doi:10.1055/s-0039-1688789. PMID 31129911.
  8. Galli M, Benenati S, Capodanno D, Franchi F, Rollini F, D'Amario D; et al. (2021). "Guided versus standard antiplatelet therapy in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention: a systematic review and meta-analysis". Lancet. 397 (10283): 1470–1483. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(21)00533-X. PMID 33865495 Check |pmid= value (help).
  9. Collet JP, Cuisset T, Rangé G, Cayla G, Elhadad S, Pouillot C; et al. (2012). "Bedside monitoring to adjust antiplatelet therapy for coronary stenting". N Engl J Med. 367 (22): 2100–9. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1209979. PMID 23121439.
  10. Cayla G, Cuisset T, Silvain J, Leclercq F, Manzo-Silberman S, Saint-Etienne C; et al. (2016). "Platelet function monitoring to adjust antiplatelet therapy in elderly patients stented for an acute coronary syndrome (ANTARCTIC): an open-label, blinded-endpoint, randomised controlled superiority trial". Lancet. 388 (10055): 2015–2022. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31323-X. PMID 27581531.
  11. Claassens DMF, Vos GJA, Bergmeijer TO, Hermanides RS, van 't Hof AWJ, van der Harst P; et al. (2019). "A Genotype-Guided Strategy for Oral P2Y12 Inhibitors in Primary PCI". N Engl J Med. 381 (17): 1621–1631. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1907096. PMID 31479209.
  12. Roden DM (2019). "Clopidogrel Pharmacogenetics - Why the Wait?". N Engl J Med. 381 (17): 1677–1678. doi:10.1056/NEJMe1911496. PMID 31644850.

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