Platelets are tiny cell fragments found in the bloodstream that have a vital function of creating clots to prevent bleeding.
Antiplatelet medications, such as aspirin, clopidogrel, and ticagrelor, act by interfering with the platelet activation process, preventing platelets from sticking together and forming clots. These medications are often prescribed for individuals with a history of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks or unstable angina, or those who have undergone procedures like coronary stent placement or coronary artery bypass graft surgery.
Here is a list of commonly used antiplatelet medications:
- Aspirin: This is one of the most widely used antiplatelet medications and is available without a prescription. It inhibits the production of certain chemicals in the body that promote blood clotting.
- Clopidogrel (Plavix): This medication is often prescribed alongside aspirin for individuals who have had a heart attack, stroke, or peripheral arterial disease.
- Prasugrel (Effient): Prasugrel is another antiplatelet medication that is used in certain cases, such as in patients who have undergone a procedure like angioplasty or stenting.
- Ticagrelor (Brilinta): This medication is commonly used in the treatment of acute coronary syndrome, including unstable angina and heart attack. It works by inhibiting the activation of platelets.
Healthcare professionals prescribe these medications according to an individual’s unique condition and potential risks. Typically, they are utilized for the following objectives:
- Preventing blood clots: Antiplatelet medications are an essential part of preventing blood clot formation, particularly in individuals with a high risk of developing cardiovascular events such as heart attack or stroke.
- Managing heart conditions: These medications are often prescribed to individuals with a history of heart conditions, such as those who have undergone heart procedures or have certain heart diseases.
- Preventing complications after certain procedures: Antiplatelet medications are also used to prevent blood clots after procedures such as angioplasty or stent placement.
Nonetheless, people with certain medical issues or those who have undergone particular treatments can experience abnormal clotting, which can result in severe health issues like heart attacks or strokes.