Pharmacology: Medication Usage

Treating Patients on Antiplatelet Therapy
By Sandra Stramoski, RDH, MSDH and Anna Matthews, RDH, MS

Patients at risk for thromboembolic events—such as those who have experienced myocardial infarction (MI), stroke, or have recently placed stents—present new challenges in providing safe and effective oral health care. Antiplatelet therapy reduces the risk of thromboembolic events dramatically but, at the same time, raises the likelihood of bleeding events, including perioperative bleeding associated with medical and dental procedures. Oral health professionals must be able to recognize the medical indications for which antiplatelets are prescribed, understand their adverse effects, and be prepared to manage the growing number of patients in dental settings who are taking these agents.

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