Platelet aggregation plays a central role in the pathogenesis of thrombosis and the acute coronary syndromes. When given intravenously, potent selective antagonists of fibrinogen binding to the glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa receptor, the final common pathway for platelet aggregation, have been effective in the treatment of acute coronary syndromes. Their benefit ceases, however, with the end of the infusion. Aspirin reduces the incidence of secondary vascular events by 25% to 30% after an acute coronary syndrome, and clopidogrel provides modest improvement over aspirin. However, both are relatively weak antiplatelet agents that each block only one of many pathways to platelet activation and surface membrane expression of the competent GP IIb/IIIa receptor. With the success of the intravenous GP IIb/IIIa antagonists in the acute setting, recent interest has focused on the potential benefit of oral GP IIb/IIIa antagonists used long-term for secondary prevention. The oral agents tested in phase III studies thus far have not performed up to expectations, however. The following paper reviews these studies and the implications of their results.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine