Antiplatelet therapy is used widely with proven benefit for the prevention of further ischemic cardiac complications in patients with known coronary artery disease (CAD) and a history of acute coronary syndrome (ACS). The limitations of conventional antiplatelet therapy with aspirin, clopidogrel, or prasugrel, as well as the fact that rates of recurrent ischemic events still remain high with use of these agents, underscore the need to investigate alternate agents that may further reduce event rates while limiting bleeding risk. The selection of antiplatelet therapy is further influenced by the following: ticagrelor was approved in July 2011 by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA),and clopidogrel is slated to become available as a generic productin 2012. We provide an overview of emerging agents for the treatment of CAD and ACS, including the reversible P2Y12 antagonists ticagrelor, cangrelor, and elinogrel, and a new class of oral protease-activated receptor-1 (PAR-1) inhibitors, vorapaxar and atopaxar.The recentlyapproved P2Y12 antagonists prasugrel and ticagrelor demonstrate enhanced ability to prevent adverse cardiac outcomes. However, this comes at a cost of a potential increased risk of bleeding. New adverse effects have also emerged, including dyspnea for all of the reversible P2Y12 antagonists (ticagrelor, cangrelor, and elinogrel) and ventricular pauses for ticagrelor. In addition, the newer P2Y12 antagonists have a faster onset and offset. Two of these agents, cangrelor and elinogrel, are available as intravenous formulations, which may provide additional benefits in patients whoundergo coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. Trials with the PAR-1 inhibitors have also shown trends toward reductions in cardiac events, but not without the possibility of increased bleeding. More than ever, as the arsenal of antiplatelet therapy expands, health care providers need to understand the pharmacologic and pharmacodynamic differences between conventional and emerging antiplatelet therapies forpatients with ACS and CAD. Health care providers must also carefully assess patient-specific factors such as risk of thrombosis, concomitant disease states, age, drug adherence, and aspirin dose, and plan for those patients who will be undergoing CABG when selecting antiplatelet therapy in order to optimally balance bleeding and thrombosis risk.