• bone loss;
  • clopidogrel;
  • osteoporosis;
  • platelet aggregation inhibitors;
  • spinal fracture;
  • thienopyridine


Jørgensen NR, Grove EL, Schwarz P, Vestergaard P (Research Center for Aging and Osteoporosis, Copenhagen University Hospital Glostrup; Aarhus University Hospital, Skejby; University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen; The Osteoporosis Clinic, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark). Clopidogrel and the risk of osteoporotic fractures: a nationwide cohort study. J Intern Med 2012; 272: 385–393.

Objectives:  The P2Y12 inhibitor clopidogrel inhibits platelet aggregation and is used in the treatment and prevention of coronary artery disease. It is widely used and, in combination with acetylsalicylic acid, is the standard of care for acute coronary syndrome and percutaneous coronary intervention. The mode of action of clopidogrel involves pathways that are important to the metabolic activity in bone cells, although to our knowledge whether P2Y12 receptors are involved in the regulation of bone metabolism has not yet been investigated. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to investigate the association between clopidogrel use and risk of fractures.

Methods:  We investigated the association between clopidogrel use and fracture incidence in a nationwide cohort study within the Danish population of approximately 5.3 million individuals. All patients who were prescribed clopidogrel during the years 1996–2008 were included in the study (= 77 503), and three nonusers were randomly selected, matched for age and gender (= 232 510), for each clopidogrel-treated subject.

Results:  Treatment with clopidogrel was associated with both increased overall fracture risk and increased risk of osteoporotic fractures, especially in subjects with a treatment duration of more than 1 year. However, individuals with low exposure to clopidogrel (<0.01 defined daily dose) had a lower risk of fracture than never users.

Conclusions:  Use of the P2Y12 inhibitor clopidogrel is associated with risk of fractures. There seems to be a biphasic relation so that lower doses are associated with decreased fracture risk, whereas higher doses (recommended dose range) are associated with increased risk. More studies are warranted to determine the potential in vivo effect of platelet aggregation inhibitors on bone metabolism.