The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
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In Brief: Poor Metabolizers of Clopidogrel (Plavix)

The FDA has required the manufacturer of Plavix, an antiplatelet drug used in addition to aspirin to prevent cardiovascular events in high-risk patients,1 to add a boxed warning to the package insert about the risk of a poor response to the drug in patients with genetic polymorphisms of the cytochrome P450 enzyme CYP2C19. Clopidogrel is a prodrug and CYP2C19 is mainly responsible for its bioactivation. The Medical Letter reported last year that several studies have found higher rates of cardiovascular events, including stent thrombosis, in patients with these polymorphisms taking clopidogrel.2

At least one genetic polymorphism leading to poor metabolism of clopidogrel has been reported to occur in 15% of Caucasians, 17% of African Americans and 30% of Asians.3 Since many patients take clopidogrel to protect against life-threatening events, and some continue to do so ... more      

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