Recent developments in clopidogrel pharmacology and their relation to clinical outcomes

Paul A. Gurbel, Mark J. Antonino, Udaya S. Tantry

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Oral antiplatelet therapy with clopidogrel and aspirin is an important and widely prescribed strategy to prevent ischemic events in patients with cardiovascular diseases. However, the occurrence of thrombotic events including stent thrombosis is still high (> 10%). Current practice guidelines are mainly based on large-scale trials focusing on clinical endpoints and 'one size fits all' strategies of treating all patients with the same clopidogrel doses. Pharmacodynamic studies have demonstrated that the latter strategy is associated with wide response variability where a substantial percentage of patients show nonresponsivenes. Translational research studies have established the relation between clopidogrel nonresponsivenes or high ontreatment platelet reactivity to adverse clinical events, thereby establishing clopidogrel nonresponsivenes as an important emerging clinical entity. Clopidogrel response variability is primarily a pharmacokinetic phenomenon associated with insufficient active metabolite generation that is secondary to i) limited intestinal absorption affected by an ABCB1 gene polymorphism; ii) functional variability in P450 isoenzyme activity; and iii) a genetic polymorphism of CYP450 isoenzymes. Personalized antiplatelet treatment with higher clopidogrel doses in selected patients or with newer more potent P2Y12 receptor blockers based on individual platelet function measurement can overcome some of the limitations of current clopidogrel treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)989-1004
Number of pages16
JournalExpert Opinion on Drug Metabolism and Toxicology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2009


  • Clopidogrel
  • Pharmacology
  • Platelets
  • Response variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pharmacology


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