Early clustering of adverse cardiovascular events after abrupt cessation of clopidogrel has been reported in patients with acute coronary syndromes. A platelet rebound phenomenon may contribute to this increased thrombotic risk and a gradual drug tapering may attenuate this proposed platelet effect. Accordingly, we aimed to assess the effect of clopidogrel tapering on platelet reactivity. Twenty patients who underwent elective percutaneous coronary interventions with bare metal stents receiving 3 months of clopidogrel therapy (75 mg daily) were randomized to either of two discontinuation strategies: (1) Off group-abrupt drug cessation or (2) Tapering group-receiving clopidogrel 75 mg every other day for 4 weeks duration. Light transmission aggregometry, induced by ADP (5 and 10 μM) and collagen, was measured at four time-points (at baseline and 2, 4 and 6 weeks after randomization). In the off group, there was an early rise in platelet reactivity at 2 weeks after abrupt drug cessation compared to baseline, as measured by ADP 5 μmol/l (39.6 ± 2.8 vs. 67.9 ± 6.0, P < 0.001). The tapering regimen suppressed this rebound platelet aggregation by ADP 5 μmol/l at 2 weeks (P = 0.001) and 4 weeks (P = 0.001). Similar results were found with ADP 10 μmol/l and collagen agonists. Abrupt cessation of clopidogrel results in an early rise in platelet aggregability in patients with BMS that is attenuated by a tapering regimen. Clopidogrel administration every other day may achieve similar levels of platelet inhibition as full dose therapy. Further investigations evaluating clopidogrel tapering strategies and their potential clinical impact are warranted.
- Antiplatelet therapy
- Percutaneous coronary intervention
- Platelet function
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine