Harvard Heart Letter

Dual antiplatelet therapy after stenting

More than 12 months of treatment might not be necessary.

More than one million men and women in the United States undergo artery-opening angioplasty and stent placement each year as a nonsurgical alternative to open heart surgery. Afterwards, most take the combination of clopidogrel (Plavix) and aspirin (called "dual antiplatelet therapy") to prevent platelets from sticking together and forming a blood clot inside the stent. Some people take aspirin with prasugrel (Effient) or ticagrelor (Brilinta) instead of clopidogrel.

After stenting, aspirin should be taken for life, but no one has been sure just how long dual antiplatelet therapy should be continued. Consequently, the two drugs are generally prescribed for a minimum of two years after stenting. Some doctors have been recommending they be taken indefinitely.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »