This study was designed to determine the magnitude and time course of platelet activation during therapy of acute coronary syndromes with an oral platelet antagonist.
Background: Platelet activation and aggregation are central to the pathogenesis of the acute coronary syndromes (ACS). However, few data are available on levels of platelet activation over time in patients with ACS, especially in the setting of chronic glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa inhibition.
Methods: The Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) 12 trial was a phase II, double-blind trial evaluating the effects of sibrafiban, an oral, selective antagonist of the platelet glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptor in patients stabilized after an ACS. A subset of 90 of the 329 patients in the study had measurement of platelet activation as assessed by the expression of platelet associated P-Selectin on days 0, 7 and 28. Platelet activation was measured in blood samples that were fixed either immediately (spontaneous activation) or after 5 minute incubation with 0, 1 microM or 5 microM ADP in order to assess platelet responsiveness to very low or moderate stimulation.
Results: At baseline there was a significant elevation of spontaneous platelet activation as compared to samples obtained from normal donors or from patients who did not have acute coronary syndromes (ACS patients 27.6+/-18.7%, Normal controls 8.5+/-4.4%, Patient controls 10.9+/-7.1%, p < 0.005 for both). In addition, there was a significant decrease in the levels of platelet activation with time during the 28 days of treatment with sibrafiban. Nevertheless, even on day 28, the TIMI-12 patients continued to show elevated platelet activation in comparison to the control groups (p < 0.05 for both).
Conclusions: These results suggest that platelets remain activated long after clinical stabilization post ACS. Although platelet activation decreased after one month of oral GPIIb/IIIa inhibition, levels remained higher than normal, suggesting the need for long-term antiplatelet therapy following ACS.