Narrative review: aspirin resistance and its clinical implications

Ann Intern Med. 2005 Mar 1;142(5):370-80. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-142-5-200503010-00012.


Aspirin is currently the most cost-effective drug for the secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease, but treatment failures are relatively common. Several factors have been linked to these recurrent vascular events in patients prescribed aspirin, including smoking, drug interactions, nonadherence, comorbid conditions, and aspirin resistance. The term aspirin resistance has been used to describe not only an absence of the expected pharmacologic effects of aspirin on platelets but also poor clinical outcomes, such as recurrent vascular events, in patients treated with aspirin. Aspirin resistance is perhaps more precisely understood as the phenomenon of measurable, persisting platelet activation that occurs in patients prescribed a therapeutic dose of aspirin and may underlie an unknown proportion of aspirin treatment failures. Key challenges for future research are to standardize a definition of aspirin resistance and to compare whether different measures of platelet activation, either alone or in combination, independently predict cardiovascular events. These challenges must be met before researchers conduct studies to assess the clinical utility of testing on patient outcomes and cost-effective prescribing.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aspirin / pharmacology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Drug Resistance
  • Humans
  • Platelet Activation / drug effects
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Secondary Prevention


  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Aspirin