Monitoring the effectiveness of antiplatelet therapy: opportunities and limitations

Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2011 Oct;72(4):683-96. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2125.2011.03955.x.


Previous clinical studies have shown heterogeneity in individual patient responses to antiplatelet therapy and high residual platelet reactivity is associated with increased risk of adverse clinical events. Monitoring response to antiplatelet therapy and tailoring treatment accordingly is currently not recommended in routine clinical practice largely due to the lack of a standardized definition of antiplatelet therapy hyporesponse and the need for a widely accepted point-of-care platelet function test that can be reliably utilized in frontline clinical practice. Recent data have shown that titrating the dose of clopidogrel in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention significantly reduces the incidence of major adverse cardiovascular events and large-scale clinical trials are currently underway to investigate whether individually tailored treatment based on results of platelet function testing leads to improved clinical outcome. Furthermore, genetic testing has demonstrated a link between CYP2C19 genetic polymorphisms, altered clopidogrel metabolite concentrations and adverse clinical events. Clinical studies are currently underway to investigate the potential clinical benefit associated with genotype-guided tailoring of antiplatelet therapy. With the advent of newer, more potent antiplatelet agents and their associated increased bleeding risks, it will become imperative in the future to select the most appropriate, safe and effective drug.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aspirin / therapeutic use
  • Clopidogrel
  • Drug Monitoring
  • Humans
  • Platelet Aggregation / drug effects*
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Platelet Function Tests / methods
  • Stents / adverse effects
  • Thrombosis / drug therapy*
  • Ticlopidine / analogs & derivatives
  • Ticlopidine / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Clopidogrel
  • Ticlopidine
  • Aspirin