Blood thinners after a stent: How long?

Ask the doctor

Published: May, 2021

Q. I had three drug-coated stents implanted five years ago following a heart attack and have been taking low-dose aspirin and prasugrel (Effient) ever since. My doctor has suggested that I could stop taking the Effient. Is there any benefit to remaining on it?

A. When people receive stents (the tiny metal mesh tubes that help open narrowed arteries), doctors routinely prescribe aspirin along with another medication that prevents clots. These drugs include clopidogrel (Plavix), prasugrel (Effient), and ticagrelor (Brilinta). Like aspirin, they prevent blood components called platelets from sticking together and forming clots. Clots that form inside the stent — known as stent thrombosis — can lead to a heart attack.

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