Monitoring Antiplatelet Therapy

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The increasing use of antiplatelet therapy, particularly aspirin and oral P2Y12 inhibitors, in the prevention and management of arterial thrombosis, has stimulated extensive pharmacodynamic studies and research into tailored antiplatelet regimens. Many different methodologies have been studied for monitoring antiplatelet drugs and some are now well validated and used in clinical practice. However, clinical studies of tailored antiplatelet therapy have not convincingly demonstrated a benefit of this approach in patients treated with aspirin and clopidogrel, coupled with the fact that more potent antiplatelet therapies have more consistent effects compared with clopidogrel and so may reduce the rationale for monitoring. On the other hand, the optimum timing of urgent surgery after cession of oral antiplatelet therapy may be informed by platelet function testing. This review discusses the different methodologies that have been used to monitor the effects of antiplatelet therapy and highlights the current position of platelet function testing in clinical practice.

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