Relationship between pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of clopidogrel in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention: comparison between vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein phosphorylation assay and multiple electrode aggregometry

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The high inter-individual variability in the inhibition of platelet function by clopidogrel is mostly explained by high variability in its transformation to an active metabolite (CAM).


We investigated the relations between pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of CAM by comparing two methods of platelet function.


We enrolled 14 patients undergoing percutaneous coronary interventions for non-ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndrome or inducible myocardial ischemia. Plasma concentrations of clopidogrel and CAM, phosphorylation of vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP-P), expressed as a platelet reactivity index (PRI) and whole-blood platelet aggregation (multiple electrode aggregometer, MEA) were measured before and after a 600-mg clopidogrel loading dose (nine time-points) and before and after 75-mg maintenance doses on days 2, 7 and 30.


Plasma concentrations of clopidogrel and CAM were highly variable. CAM reached maximal concentration (Cmax) (median, 110.8 nm; range, 41.9–484.8) 0.5–2 h after the loading dose. A sigmoid dose-response curve defined the relations between CAMCmax and PRI after 3 to 24 h (IC50, 459.6 nm; 95% confidence interval, 453.4–465.7; R2 = 0.82). PRI was unchanged from baseline in patients with the lowest CAMCmax (< 83 nm, n = 7), indicating low sensitivity of VASP-P. PRI values were also predicted by CAMCmax at days 2, 7 and 30. Platelet aggregation measured by MEA did not show significant relations with either PRI or with CAM pharmacokinetics at any time-point.


After 600 mg clopidogrel, VASP-P, but not whole-blood platelet aggregation measured by MEA, is almost entirely predicted by CAMCmax. VASP-P could be useful in studies aimed at investigating relations between CAM bioavailability and clinical events.

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