Background: In the era of dual antiplatelet therapy of aspirin and clopidogrel and systematic
stent implantation, Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa Inhibitors (GPI), including abciximab, eptifibatide and tirofiban,
proved beneficial in improving early outcome of Percutaneous Coronary Intervention (PCI), especially
in higher risk clinical and/or anatomical subsets. This was associated however, with an increased
incidence of bleeding complications.
Objective: To review whether the established results of GPI in PCI are maintained in the contemporary
era of more effective antiplatelet agents (i.e., prasugrel, ticagrelor and cangrelor) and safer anticoagulants
(i.e., bivalirudin) and interventional techniques (i.e., radial approach).
Methods: The most relevant evidence on the use of GPI in stable coronary artery disease, non-STelevation
coronary syndromes and ST-elevation myocardial infarction was reviewed.
Results: Overall the relative efficacy and safety of GPI in contemporary PCI is maintained, largely irrespective
of the use of more effective antiplatelet agents and/or safer anticoagulants and interventional
techniques. However, an increase in the absolute occurrence of major and/or minor bleeding and/or need
for blood transfusions is generally observed.
Conclusion: Because of the persistent benefit of GPI in limiting early ischemic complications, especially
in higher risk clinical and/or anatomical subsets, and the associated risk of increased bleeding
complications, also in contemporary PCI, these agents should currently be used on a selective rather
than routine basis, including bail out administration for peri-procedural thrombotic complications.