Background: Pretreatment is not the most common strategy practiced for clopidogrel administration in elective coronary stenting. Moreover, limited information is available on the antiplatelet pharmacodynamics of a 300-mg versus a 600-mg clopidogrel loading dose, and the comparative effect of eptifibatide with these regimens is unknown.
Methods and results: Patients undergoing elective stenting (n=120) were enrolled in a 2x2 factorial study (300 mg clopidogrel with or without eptifibatide; 600 mg clopidogrel with or without eptifibatide) (Clopidogrel Loading With Eptifibatide to Arrest the Reactivity of Platelets [CLEAR PLATELETS] Study). Clopidogrel was administered immediately after stenting. Aggregometry and flow cytometry were used to assess platelet reactivity. Eptifibatide added a > or =2-fold increase in platelet inhibition to 600 mg clopidogrel alone at 3, 8, and 18 to 24 hours after stenting as measured by 5 micromol/L ADP-induced aggregation (P<0.001). Without eptifibatide, 600 mg clopidogrel produced better inhibition than 300 mg clopidogrel at all time points (P<0.001). Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa (GPIIb/IIIa) blockade was associated with lower cardiac marker release. Active GPIIb/IIIa expression was inhibited most in the groups treated with eptifibatide (P<0.05).
Conclusions: In elective stenting without clopidogrel pretreatment, use of a GPIIb/IIIa inhibitor produces superior platelet inhibition and lower myocardial necrosis compared with high-dose (600 mg) or standard-dose (300 mg) clopidogrel loading alone. In the absence of a GPIIb/IIIa inhibitor, 600 mg clopidogrel provides better platelet inhibition than the standard 300-mg dose. These results require confirmation in a large-scale clinical trial.