Heart Beat: September 2012
New guidelines issued by the American Heart Association (AHA) Task Force on Practice Guidelines and the American College of Cardiology Foundation (ACCF) say that ticagrelor (Brilinta) should be considered alongside established antiplatelet drugs clopidogrel (Plavix) and prasugrel (Effient) for treating patients with chest pain or those who have had a certain type of heart attack known as non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI). In NSTEMI, there are abnormal heart enzymes that indicate damage to the heart muscle is occurring. The guidelines, published in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, also recommend that all patients go on aspirin therapy immediately after hospitalization. That aspirin therapy should last as long as the medication is tolerated. Other guideline highlights include the recommendation that all patients undergoing invasive procedures take aspirin and another antiplatelet medication. These drugs help keep platelets from gathering and forming blood clots that can lead to strokes.