Patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) are characterized by enhanced thrombotic risk attributed to multiple mechanisms including hyperreactive platelets, hypercoagulable status, and endothelial dysfunction. As such, they are more prone to atherosclerotic cardiovascular events than patients without DM, both before and after coronary artery disease (CAD) is established. In patients with DM without established CAD, primary prevention with aspirin is not routinely advocated because of its increased risk of major bleeding that largely offsets its ischemic benefit. In patients with DM with established CAD, secondary prevention with antiplatelet drugs is an asset of pharmacological strategies aimed at reducing the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular events and their adverse prognostic consequences. Such antithrombotic strategies include single antiplatelet therapy (eg, with aspirin or a P2Y12 inhibitor), dual antiplatelet therapy (eg, aspirin combined with a P2Y12 inhibitor), and dual-pathway inhibition (eg, aspirin combined with the vascular dose of the direct oral anticoagulant rivaroxaban) for patients with chronic ischemic heart disease, acute coronary syndromes, and those undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention. Because of their increased risk of thrombotic complications, patients with DM commonly achieve enhanced absolute benefit from more potent antithrombotic approaches compared with those without DM, which most often occurs at the expense of increased bleeding.


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