A joint advisory from the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, the Society of Vascular Angiography and Interventions, the American College of Surgeons, and the American Dental Association recommends continuing dual antiplatelet therapy for at least 1 year after placement of drug-eluting stents (DES). This recommendation comes in the wake of evidence that showed that patients with DES may be at risk of heart attack or death if therapy using aspirin and a thienopyridine is stopped early. The advisory targets all health care providers, not just cardiologists, who are typically not the providers who stop therapyantiplatelet drugs are most often stopped by primary care providers, dentists, surgeons, or patients themselves. The joint statement was issued in the hope that the message regarding this issue would be delivered to a wider audience. Eight key points are addressed in the advisory, which is available in the January issue of Circulation at www.circulationaha.org.
Pharmacists can play an important role by monitoring adherence and educating patients so that they understand the importance of continuing antiplatelet therapy for the recommended length of time.
Dr. Garrett is a clinical pharmacist practitioner at Cornerstone Health Care in High Point, NC.
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