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Antiplatelet Therapy for Postdischarge Medical Management of Acute Coronary Syndrome

      Abstract

      Postdischarge management of patients with acute coronary syndrome is often suboptimal, despite their high risk of a subsequent event. Updated American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association guidelines emphasize the need for aggressive modification of risk factors and treatment with antiplatelet, antihypertensive, and lipid-lowering agents commenced in-hospital and continued long-term. Antiplatelet therapy involving aspirin and clopidogrel is the mainstay of secondary risk reduction. Increased adherence to medication and risk factor modification at discharge has been demonstrated with acute care quality improvement initiatives. Extension of these initiatives to postdischarge care will provide data on medication adherence post acute coronary syndrome and functional outcomes in the community setting. Successful secondary prevention of cardiovascular events requires implementation of evidence-based guidelines by physicians, and adherence to pharmacotherapy and lifestyle modifications by patients. Primary care physicians are well placed to influence adherence through their ongoing relationships with patients and can save lives by implementing secondary risk reduction measures after discharge.

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