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Prasugrel pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics after a 60-mg loading dose (LD) and daily 10-mg maintenance doses (MD) were compared in a 3-way crossover study to clopidogrel 600-mg/75-mg and 300-mg/75-mg LD/MD in 41 healthy, aspirin-free subjects. Each LD was followed by 7 days of daily MD and a 14-day washout period. Inhibition of platelet aggregation (IPA) was assessed by turbidometric aggregometry (20 and 5 μM ADP). Prasugrel 60-mg achieved higher mean IPA (54%) 30 minutes post-LD than clopidogrel 300-mg (3%) or 600-mg (6%) (P < 0.001) and greater IPA by 1 hour (82%) and 2 hours (91%) than the 6-hour IPA for clopidogrel 300-mg (51%) or 600-mg (69%) (P < 0.01). During MD, IPA for prasugrel 10-mg (78%) exceeded that of clopidogrel (300-mg/75-mg, 56%; 600-mg/75-mg, 52%; P < 0.001). Active metabolite area under the concentration-time curve (AUC0-tlast) after prasugrel 60-mg (594 ng·hr/mL) was 2.2 times that after clopidogrel 600-mg. Prasugrel active metabolite AUC0-tlast was consistent with dose-proportionality from 10-mg to 60-mg, while clopidogrel active metabolite AUC0-tlast exhibited saturable absorption and/or metabolism. In conclusion, greater exposure to prasugrel's active metabolite results in faster onset, higher levels, and less variability of platelet inhibition compared with high-dose clopidogrel in healthy subjects.