August 29, 2015
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Side Effects


The following adverse reactions are also discussed elsewhere in the labeling:


Clinical Trials Experience

Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

BRILINTA has been evaluated for safety in more than 10000 patients, including more than 3000 patients treated for more than 1 year.


PLATO used the following bleeding severity categorization:

  • Major bleed – fatal/life-threatening. Any one of the following: fatal; intracranial; intrapericardial bleed with cardiac tamponade; hypovolemic shock or severe hypotension due to bleeding and requiring pressors or surgery; clinically overt or apparent bleeding associated with a decrease in hemoglobin (Hb) of more than 5 g/dL; transfusion of 4 or more units (whole blood or packed red blood cells (PRBCs)) for bleeding.
  • Major bleed – other. Any one of the following: significantly disabling (e.g., intraocular with permanent vision loss); clinically overt or apparent bleeding associated with a decrease in Hb of 3 g/dL; transfusion of 2-3 units (whole blood or PRBCs) for bleeding.
  • Minor bleed. Requires medical intervention to stop or treat bleeding (e.g., epistaxis requiring visit to medical facility for packing).
  • Minimal bleed. All others (e.g., bruising, bleeding gums, oozing from injection sites, etc.) not requiring intervention or treatment.

Figure 1 shows major bleeding events over time. Many events are early, at a time of coronary angiography, PCI, CABG, and other procedures, but the risk persists during later use of antiplatelet therapy.

Figure 1: Kaplan-Meier estimate of time to first PLATO-defined ‘Total Major’ bleeding event

Major bleeding events over time - Illustration

Annualized rates of bleeding are summarized in Table 1 below. About half of the bleeding events were in the first 30 days.

Table 1 : Non-CABG related bleeds (KM%)

Total (Major + Minor) 8.7 7.0
  Major 4.5 3.8
     Fatal/Life-threatening 2.1 1.9
     Fatal 0.2 0.2
     Intracranial (Fatal/Life-threatening) 0.3 0.2

As shown in Table 1, BRILINTA was associated with a somewhat greater risk of non- CABG bleeding than was clopidogrel. No baseline demographic factor altered the relative risk of bleeding with BRILINTA compared to clopidogrel.

In PLATO, 1584 patients underwent CABG surgery. The percentages of those patients who bled are shown in Table 2. Rates were very high but similar for BRILINTA and clopidogrel.

Table 2 : CABG bleeds (KM%)

  Patients with CABG
Total Major 85.8 86.9
Fatal/Life-threatening 48.1 47.9
Fatal 0.9 1.1

Although the platelet inhibition effect of BRILINTA has a faster offset than clopidogrel in in vitro tests and BRILINTA is a reversibly binding P2Y12 inhibitor, PLATO did not show an advantage of BRILINTA compared to clopidogrel for CABG-related bleeding. When antiplatelet therapy was stopped 5 days before CABG, major bleeding occurred in 75% of BRILINTA treated patients and 79% on clopidogrel.

No data exist with BRILINTA regarding a hemostatic benefit of platelet transfusions.

Drug Discontinuation

In PLATO, the rate of study drug discontinuation attributed to adverse reactions was 7.4% for BRILINTA and 5.4% for clopidogrel. Bleeding caused permanent discontinuation of study drug in 2.3% of BRILINTA patients and 1.0% of clopidogrel patients. Dyspnea led to study drug discontinuation in 0.9% of BRILINTA and 0.1% of clopidogrel patients.

Common Adverse Events

A variety of non-hemorrhagic adverse events occurred in PLATO at rates of 3% or more. These are shown in Table 3. In the absence of a placebo control, whether these are drug related cannot be determined in most cases, except where they are more common on BRILINTA or clearly related to the drug's pharmacologic effect (dyspnea).

Table 3 : Percentage of patients reporting non-hemorrhagic adverse events at least 3% or more in either group

Dyspnea1 13.8 7.8
Headache 6.5 5.8
Cough 4.9 4.6
Dizziness 4.5 3.9
Nausea 4.3 3.8
Atrial fibrillation 4.2 4.6
Hypertension 3.8 4.0
Non-cardiac chest pain 3.7 3.3
Diarrhea 3.7 3.3
Back pain 3.6 3.3
Hypotension 3.2 3.3
Fatigue 3.2 3.2
Chest pain 3.1 3.5
1 Includes: dyspnea, dyspnea exertional, dyspnea at rest, nocturnal dyspnea, dyspnea paroxysmal nocturnal


In clinical studies BRILINTA has been shown to increase the occurrence of Holter-detected bradyarrhythmias (including ventricular pauses). PLATO excluded patients at increased risk of bradycardic events (e.g., patients who have sick sinus syndrome, 2nd or 3rd degree AV block, or bradycardic-related syncope and not protected with a pacemaker). In PLATO, syncope, pre-syncope and loss of consciousness were reported by 1.7% and 1.5% of BRILINTA and clopidogrel patients, respectively.

In a Holter substudy of about 3000 patients in PLATO, more patients had ventricular pauses with BRILINTA (6.0%) than with clopidogrel (3.5%) in the acute phase; rates were 2.2% and 1.6% respectively after 1 month.


In PLATO, gynecomastia was reported by 0.23% of men on BRILINTA and 0.05% on clopidogrel. Other sex-hormonal adverse reactions, including sex organ malignancies, did not differ between the two treatment groups in PLATO.

Lab Abnormalities

Serum Uric Acid

Serum uric acid levels increased approximately 0.6 mg/dL from baseline on BRILINTA and approximately 0.2 mg/dL on clopidogrel in PLATO. The difference disappeared within 30 days of discontinuing treatment. Reports of gout did not differ between treatment groups in PLATO (0.6% in each group).

Serum Creatinine

In PLATO, a > 50% increase in serum creatinine levels was observed in 7.4% of patients receiving BRILINTA compared to 5.9% of patients receiving clopidogrel. The increases typically did not progress with ongoing treatment and often decreased with continued therapy. Evidence of reversibility upon discontinuation was observed even in those with the greatest on treatment increases. Treatment groups in PLATO did not differ for renal-related serious adverse events such as acute renal failure, chronic renal failure, toxic nephropathy, or oliguria.

Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during post-approval use of BRILINTA. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of an unknown size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Immune system disorders – Hypersensitivity reactions including angioedema [see CONTRAINDICATIONS].

Read the Brilinta (ticagrelor tablets for oral administration) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects


Effects of other drugs

Ticagrelor is predominantly metabolized by CYP3A4 and to a lesser extent by CYP3A5. Ticagrelor is also a p-glycoprotein (P-gp) substrate.

CYP3A inhibitors

Avoid use of strong inhibitors of CYP3A (e.g., ketoconazole, itraconazole, voriconazole, clarithromycin, nefazodone, ritonavir, saquinavir, nelfinavir, indinavir, atazanavir and telithromycin) [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

CYP3A inducers

Avoid use with potent inducers of CYP3A (e.g., rifampin, phenytoin, carbamazepine and phenobarbital) [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].


Use of BRILINTA with aspirin maintenance doses above 100 mg reduced the effectiveness of BRILINTA [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS and Clinical Studies].

Effect of BRILINTA on Other Drugs

Ticagrelor is an inhibitor of CYP3A4/5 and the P-glycoprotein transporter.

Simvastatin, Lovastatin

BRILINTA will result in higher serum concentrations of simvastatin and lovastatin because these drugs are metabolized by CYP3A4. Avoid simvastatin and lovastatin doses greater than 40 mg [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].



Because of inhibition of the P-glycoprotein transporter, monitor digoxin levels with initiation of or any change in BRILINTA therapy [see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

Other Concomitant Therapy

BRILINTA can be administered with unfractionated or low-molecular-weight heparin, GPIIb/IIIa inhibitors, proton pump inhibitors, beta-blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, and angiotensin receptor blockers.

Read the Brilinta Drug Interactions Center for a complete guide to possible interactions

Last reviewed on RxList: 4/13/2015
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Side Effects

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