Antiplatelet therapy with one or more of these drugs decreases the ability of blood clots to form by interfering with the platelet activation process in primary hemostasis. Antiplatelet drugs can reversibly or irreversibly inhibit the process involved in platelet activation resulting in decreased tendency of platelets to adhere to one another and to damaged blood vessels' endothelium.
Prevention and treatment of arterial thrombosis is essential in patients with certain medical conditions whereby the risk of thrombosis or thromboembolism may result in disastrous consequences such as heart attack, pulmonary embolism or stroke. Patients who require the use of antiplatelet drugs are: stroke with or without atrial fibrillation, any heart surgery (especially prosthetic replacement heart valve), Coronary Heart Disease such as stable angina, unstable angina and heart attack, patients with coronary stent, Peripheral Vascular Disease/Peripheral Arterial Disease and apical/ventricular/mural thrombus.
Thrombolytic therapy is used in myocardial infarction, cerebral infarction, and, on occasion, in massive pulmonary embolism. The main risk is bleeding. Treatment should not be given to patients having had recent bleeding, uncontrolled hypertension or a hemorrhagic stroke, or surgery or other invasive procedures within the previous 10 days.
Dentists should be aware of the risk of prolonged bleeding time in patients taking antiplatelet drugs when planning dental treatments that are likely to cause bleeding. Therefore, it is important for dentists to know how to assess patient's bleeding risk and how to manage them.
Antiplatelet drugs effect may be affected by patient's medications, current medical conditions, food and supplements taken. Antiplatelet drugs effect may be increased or decreased. An increase in antiplatelet effect would increase the risk of bleeding and results in prolonged or excessive bleeding. A decrease in antiplatelet effect would reduce the risk of bleeding and potentially increase the thromboembolic risk. Drug toxicity also may increased when multiple antiplatelet drugs are used. Gastrointestinal bleeding is a common adverse event seen in many patients.
Usage of NSAIDS as part of dental management of patients with vascular disease should be discouraged as NSAIDS has antiplatelet effect. Instead, simple analgesics such as Paracetamol, Co-codamol should be of first choice. If NSAIDS is required, dentist should be aware of the risk of bleeding and minimise treatment length.