Rambam Grand Rounds

Immediate and Long-Term Therapy of Patients with Acute Coronary Syndromes with Thienopyridines. Current status according to the Latest European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Guidelines

Sigmund Silber


For patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS), the first priority is to alert emergency services. In addition to an ECG (ideally taken during the first medical contact at the patient’s home), the key of live saving is the immediate antithrombotic therapy with acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) and (unless contraindicated) an injection of unfractionated heparin or bivalirudin as an alternative anticoagulant. Dual antiplatelet therapy (ASA combined with other antiplatelet drugs, like thienopyridines) should be started as soon as possible in the ambulance or at the latest in the hospital. For clopidogrel, a loading dose of 600 mg is the standard. To avoid the risk of an unknown low or missing clopidogrel-response, prasugrel is recommended instead, administrating a loading dose of 60 mg, if no contraindication (s/p stroke or TIA) exists. When PCI is planned, the ambulance must head directly to the nearest hospital with continuous (24/7) PCI service within 90 (to 120) minutes. The maintenance dose for clopidogrel is 75 mg/d; a daily double-dose has not proven to be superior, even in “low responders”. For prasugrel, the maintenance dose is usually 10 mg/d. To avoid bleeding complications in patients ≥75 y and/or <60 kg, a prasugrel maintenance dose of 5 mg/d is recommended. The ESC guidelines recommend DAPT for 1 year after ACS – independent of the type of ACS and independent of whether any or which coronary stent has been implanted. With DAPT, the patient – and not the stent – is treated.

Rambam Maimonides Med J 2011;2(3):e0056