Aspirin and clopidogrel in acute coronary syndromes: therapeutic insights from the CURE study

Arch Intern Med. 2003 May 26;163(10):1145-53. doi: 10.1001/archinte.163.10.1145.


Platelet adhesion, activation, and aggregation are central to thrombus formation, which follows atherosclerotic plaque disruption and causes acute coronary syndromes. Aspirin and clopidogrel exert their antiplatelet effects by inhibiting thromboxane A2 production and adenosine diphosphate-induced platelet aggregation pathways, respectively. Aspirin has proven benefits in primary and secondary prevention of coronary artery disease. Clopidogrel, an alternative antiplatelet agent used in patients with aspirin intolerance, is especially useful in combination with aspirin after coronary stent procedures. The CURE (Clopidogrel in Unstable Angina to Prevent Recurrent Events) study demonstrates for the first time the benefit of adding clopidogrel to aspirin rather than using aspirin alone in patients having acute coronary syndromes without ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. Patients who are resistant to aspirin (up to 10%) have higher rates of cardiovascular events and may derive special benefit from the combination therapy. Aspirin resistance can be assessed through platelet aggregometry testing, measurement of urinary thromboxane metabolites, and, possibly, genomic testing in the future.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aspirin / therapeutic use*
  • Clopidogrel
  • Coronary Disease / drug therapy*
  • Coronary Disease / physiopathology
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Syndrome
  • Ticlopidine / analogs & derivatives
  • Ticlopidine / therapeutic use*


  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Clopidogrel
  • Ticlopidine
  • Aspirin