Antiplatelet treatment

What they do

Antiplatelets prevent the formation of blood clots in arteries. Blood clots in the arteries of the heart and the brain can cause a heart attack or stroke.

Although antiplatelets are often referred to as blood thinners, they don’t actually allow your blood to flow more freely through your vessels.

Aspirin is the most common antiplatelet medicine. The dose of aspirin to prevent blood clots is a lot lower than the dose used for pain relief. Taking a higher dose of aspirin does not make it any more effective, but it does increase the risk of side effects. Therefore, stick to the dose recommended by your doctor.

Side effects

Most people do not have any side effects with low dose aspirin. The benefits of taking aspirin usually outweigh the small risk of developing side effects. The most serious possible side effects, which only affect a small number of people, include stomach irritation or bleeding and rarely aspirin allergy.

Newer antiplatelet medicines, such as clopidogrel, may cause less stomach irritation.

Top tips

To reduce the risk of stomach irritation it is best to take antiplatelet medicines with or after food.

If you take low-dose aspirin to prevent blood clots and you need to take painkillers (for example, for headaches) it is best to take paracetamol rather than a higher dose of aspirin.

Also known as:

  • Aspirin
    (Gencardia®, Micropirin®, Angettes 75®, Caprin®, Nu-Seals®, Albyl®)
  • Clopidogrel
  • Ticlopidine
  • Dipyridamole
    (Persantin®, Persantin Retard®), Combination products (Asasantin Retard®)

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ESC Guidelines for Heart Failure

What patients need to know

This guide for patients from the European Society of Cardiology aims to provide an overview of the latest evidence-based recommendations for the diagnosis and treatment of heart failure.

In particular, it should help patients to understand the:

  • main types of heart failure
  • medicines used to treat heart failure
  • devices that may be appropriate
  • importance of rehabilitation
  • management by a multidisciplinary team
  • importance of self-care in managing your own condition

Learn more


A series of 9 simple, captivating animations explaining heart failure and its treatment.

These narrated animations explain how a healthy heart works, what happens to it in heart failure and how various treatments work to improve your health.


In this section you can watch, listen or read interviews with other people with heart failure and their caregivers.


and share your own views and experiences with other patients, families and caregivers. is a European Society of Cardiology website

The website was developed under the direction of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The ESC is a world leader in the discovery and dissemination of best practices in cardiovascular medicine. Our members and decision-makers are healthcare professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to represent professionals in the field of cardiology in Europe and beyond.

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