, Volume 13, Issue 4, pp 303-311
Date: 24 May 2011

Beyond Aspirin and Clopidogrel: Is There a Need for Additional Antiplatelet Therapy in ACS?

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Dual antiplatelet therapy with aspirin and clopidogrel is a well-established standard of care for patients with acute coronary syndromes. Whether there are other drug strategies or therapies that will achieve fewer ischemic events, and at the same time be associated with fewer bleeding complications, is a question recurrently asked. Finding the appropriate pharmacologic calibration of antiplatelet potency and applying such a pharmacodynamic effect to all patients has only been partially successful. The shadow of this one-size-fits-all dilemma is now being recast with the arrival of newer antiplatelet agents, which are attempting to decouple antithrombotic potency from bleeding liability. Novel antiplatelet agents that act faster and have more consistent pharmacokinetics and higher potency are steadily emerging. Additionally, newer agents that target unique sites, such as the thrombin receptor on platelets, are being studied in large-scale clinical trials. Each of these new agents has the potential to extend net clinical benefits beyond those provided by aspirin and clopidogrel.