Recent randomised studies suggest that experimental oral reversible platelet P2Y12 receptor inhibitor, AZD6140, causes dyspnoea. This also raises similar concerns about the parent compound, and another adenosine triphosphate (ATP) analogue (AR-69931MX or cangrelor), which is currently in Phase 3 trial in patients undergoing coronary interventions. We analysed package inserts, and available clinical trials safety data for antiplatelet agents with regard to the incidence of dyspnoea. We found that dyspnoea is a very rare complication of the presently approved platelet inhibitors, mostly caused by underlying disease, rather than antiplatelet therapy per se. The main reasons for respiratory distress after oral (AZD6140), and intravenous (cangrelor) agents may be the development of mild asymptomatic thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura, fluid retention and dyspnoea because of the reversible nature of these drugs. Also, these agents are ATP analogues, which rapidly metabolise to adenosine, a well-known bronchoprovocator causing dyspnoea as well. In summary, dyspnoea is seldom considered, there are no treatment algorithms when it does occur, plausible mechanisms exist and despite these plausible mechanisms, the true cause of dyspnoea in these exposed individuals is unknown. Additional pulmonary function testing, immunological investigations and platelet receptor studies are urgently needed to determine the cause of dyspnoea after AZD6140, and to point out how such serious adverse reactions can be prevented, or at least minimised, raising potential concerns about this drug.
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