Purpose of review
Dual antiplatelet therapy with aspirin and clopidogrel, in conjunction with heparin, is the most common antithrombotic strategy in percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) used to reduce peri-procedural ischaemic complications. However, there remains significant inter-individual variability in post-treatment platelet inhibition with this current established therapy. This review focuses on recent developments in oral antiplatelet agents used in PCI, which promise to overcome, at least in part, current shortfalls.
Genetic polymorphisms and medication interactions involving CYP3A4 or CYP2C19, patient compliance and higher platelet reactivity in certain subgroups, such as those with diabetes, are important factors contributing to inter-individual variability in post-treatment platelet inhibition. Higher clopidogrel doses have been associated with improved clinical outcomes, especially in those presenting with acute coronary syndrome. Newer agents, namely prasugrel and ticagrelor, have been shown to have greater potency and superior clinical outcomes. However, this comes with a price of increased bleeding complications.
Whereas more potent antiplatelet therapies are associated with improved outcome, balancing the risk of bleeding and peri-procedural ischaemic complications remains a key aspect to consider when choosing among the ever-increasing number of agents available. The role of intravenous glycoprotein IIb/IIIa (GPIIb/IIIa) needs to be re-examined in the current context of such potent oral antiplatelet agents. Further research will hopefully help to determine the preferred antithrombotic strategy in patients undergoing PCI.