Ticagrelor is an orally active ADP P2Y12 receptor antagonist in development by AstraZeneca plc for the reduction of recurrent ischemic events in patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS). Prior to the development of ticagrelor, thienopyridine compounds, such as clopidogrel, were the focus of research into therapies for ACS. Although the thienopyridines are effective platelet aggregation inhibitors, they are prodrugs and, consequently, exert a slow onset of action. In addition, the variability in inter-individual metabolism of thienopyridine prodrugs has been associated with reduced efficacy in some patients. Ticagrelor is not a prodrug and exhibits a more rapid onset of action than the thienopyridine prodrugs. In clinical trials conducted to date, ticagrelor was a potent inhibitor of ADP-induced platelet aggregation and demonstrated effects that were comparable to clopidogrel. In a phase II, short-term trial, the bleeding profile of participants treated with ticagrelor was similar to that obtained with clopidogrel; however, an increased incidence of dyspnea was observed - an effect that has not been reported with the thienopyridines. Considering the occurrence of dyspnea, and the apparent non-superiority of ticagrelor to clopidogrel, it is difficult to justify a clear benefit to the continued development of ticagrelor. Outcomes from an ongoing phase III trial comparing ticagrelor with clopidogrel in 18,000 patients with ACS are likely to impact on the future development of ticagrelor
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