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ABSTRACT: Dual antiplatelet therapy with aspirin plus a P2Y(12) receptor inhibitor is the cornerstone of treatment for patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and in those undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Clopidogrel is the most widely used P2Y(12) receptor inhibitor. Despite the clinical benefits associated with adjunctive clopidogrel therapy, a considerable number of patients continue to experience recurrent cardiovascular events. Importantly, the interindividual response to clopidogrel is variable and is affected by multiple factors, including genetic polymorphisms and drugs that interfere with the conversion of clopidogrel to its active metabolite. The individual variability to clopidogrel-induced antiplatelet effects has significant clinical implications that can result in an increased risk of atherothrombotic recurrences, including stent thrombosis. The introduction of novel P2Y(12) receptor inhibitors, such as prasugrel or ticagrelor, characterized by more potent and consistent platelet inhibitory effects, represent an opportunity for clinicians to consider these alternative therapies to overcome the limitations of clopidogrel. Understanding the strategies and implications of switching antiplatelet treatment regimens is, therefore, key in the clinical setting. The present article provides an overview of the literature on switching antiplatelet treatment strategies and practical considerations for the interventional cardiologist. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
University of FloridaGainesville, Florida, United States