Clinical pharmacokinetics of antiplatelet agents used in the secondary prevention of stroke

Thomas L. Lenz, Amy F. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and debilitation. Several million stroke survivors are alive throughout the world today. Prevention of recurrent stroke is of major importance to stroke survivors. Several pharmacological agents are currently available for use in secondary stroke prevention. Clopidogrel, the combination of immediate-release aspirin and extended-release dipyridamole and aspirin alone are the most widely recommended agents for use in the secondary prevention of strokes. Clopidogrel has shown superiority over aspirin in the combined endpoints of stroke, death and myocardial infarction. The immediate-release aspirin/extended-release dipyridamole combination has shown superiority to aspirin alone in the secondary prevention of stroke. Dipyridamole has been studied as an antiplatelet agent for several decades. Early trials to prove its efficacy compared with aspirin were not favourable, and patients often experienced many adverse effects. Researchers began developing an extended-release formulation in an effort to maintain therapeutic blood concentrations with less frequent daily administration and better adverse effect profile. Pharmacokinetic analysis of this new product showed it to have a more consistent and reproducible absorption compared with immediate-release dipyridamole. The rate of absorption of extended-release dipyridamole is considerably slower than that of immediate-release dipyridamole, while similar plasma concentrations are maintained to optimise antiplatelet efficacy. This allows extended-release dipyridamole to be administered twice daily rather than four times daily. A large-scale randomised trial was conducted with extended-release dipyridamole 200mg in combination with immediate-release aspirin 25mg given twice daily. The combination product showed a greater efficacy at preventing a recurring stroke then either agent administered alone. Indirect comparisons with clopidogrel show that the combination of immediate-release aspirin/extended-release dipyridamole may be more effective than clopidogrel at preventing a recurring stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)909-920
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Pharmacokinetics
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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