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ASA plus clopidogrel reduces heart attack risk in patients with acute coronary syndrome
Date:4/21/2009

In order to better prevent blood clots, clopidogrel can be prescribed to patients with acute ischaemia of the heart muscle, in addition to acetylsalicylic acid (ASA). The Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) has now investigated whether the combination of clopidogrel and ASA actually has a higher benefit for patients than ASA alone. The final report by IQWiG, published on 31 March 2009, concludes that combination therapy can measurably reduce the risk of a heart attack. This particularly applies if the 2 drugs are used in the early stage of treatment. An English-language summary of the report is now available.

ASA and clopidogrel should complement each other's effects

Clopidogrel is an anti-platelet drug ("platelet aggregation inhibitor") that is used in a similar way to ASA. It inhibits parts of the blood-clotting system, leading to a reduction in platelet clotting (aggregation) and of the subsequent formation of blood clots (thrombi). Clopidogrel thus reduces the risk of occlusion of the arteries and helps prevent heart attacks and strokes. However, the risk of bleeding increases. As the mechanism that affects blood clotting is slightly different from that of ASA, clopidogrel can also be used in combination with ASA in certain cases. It is assumed the 2 drugs complement each other and that the overall inhibitory effect on the formation of blood clots increases.

The combination of clopidogrel and ASA is approved in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS), i.e., with an acute stenosis of the coronary blood vessels. On the one hand, this refers to patients with an acute heart attack, which is shown in the electrocardiogram (ECG) as a characteristic elevation of the ECG wave between the "S" and "T" point (ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, STEMI). On the other hand, it refers to patients with acute severe ischaemia of the heart, but without a heart attack and the typical ST-segment elevation i
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Contact: Dr. Anna-Sabine Ernst
info@iqwig.de
Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care
Source:Eurekalert

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