Clinical Pharmacokinetics

, Volume 51, Issue 5, pp 305–318 | Cite as

Pharmacokinetic, Pharmacodynamic and Pharmacogenetic Profile of the Oral Antiplatelet Agent Ticagrelor

Review Article


Acute coronary syndromes (ACS) remain life-threatening disorders associated with high morbidity and mortality, despite advances in treatment over the last decade. Adenosine diphosphate-induced platelet activation via P2Y12 receptors plays a pivotal role in the pathophysiology of ACS. The current standard of treatment involves dual antiplatelet therapy with aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) and the thienopyridine clopidogrel. Numerous studies and wide use in clinical practice have established the value of this approach in the treatment of ACS. However, clopidogrel treatment has a number of limitations, including a delayed onset of action due to the need for metabolic activation, variable and reduced antiplatelet effects in patients with certain genotypes, and prolonged recovery of platelet function due to irreversible P2Y12 receptor binding. Prasugrel, a new thienopyridine, has demonstrated more consistent inhibition of platelet aggregation (IPA) than clopidogrel, although this thienopyridine also requires metabolic activation and treatment is associated with a significantly increased risk of life-threatening and fatal bleeding. The recently approved oral antiplatelet agent ticagrelor has the potential to overcome some of the limitations of current therapy due to its unique pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles. It is a member of a new chemical class, the cyclopentyltriazolopyrimidines, and is a potent P2Y12 receptor antagonist. Ticagrelor is rapidly absorbed, with a median time to maximum concentration of 1.3–2.0 hours. Ticagrelor does not require metabolic activation to an active form and binds rapidly and reversibly to the P2Y12 receptor. As well as exerting effects via platelet P2Y12 receptors, ticagrelor may confer additional benefits via inhibition of non-platelet P2Y12 receptors. The pharmacokinetic profile of ticagrelor is not significantly affected by age, gender or administration with food, nor by prior treatment with, or responsiveness to, clopidogrel. Ticagrelor is primarily metabolized via the cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A4 enzyme, rapidly produces plasma concentration-dependent IPA that is greater and more consistent than that observed with clopidogrel, and can also enhance platelet inhibition and overcome non-responsiveness in patients previously treated with clopidogrel. Importantly, the pharmacodynamic characteristics of ticagrelor are not influenced by CYP2C19 and ABCB1 genotypes.

This article summarizes our current knowledge regarding the pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic and pharmacogenetic profile of ticagrelor.



Conflicts of interest: Renli Teng is an employee of AstraZeneca.

Medical writing support was provided by Andrew Jones PhD, from Mudskipper Bioscience, funded by AstraZeneca.


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical PharmacologyAstraZeneca LPWilmingtonUSA

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