Thienopyridines (ticlopidine or clopidogrel) alone or in combination with aspirin are now the reference antiplatelet therapy after stent implantation. To better understand the high efficacy and low risk of bleeding with these agents, we tested clopidogrel alone or with aspirin in an acute ex vivo flow chamber model and in a subacute in vivo arterial thrombosis model. Clopidogrel induced a dose-dependent increase in bleeding time (BT), inhibited ADP-induced platelet aggregation and in the flow chamber reduced thrombus size, and changed thrombus structure to broad-based structure composed of nondegranulated loosely attached platelets contrasting with the tight clumps of degranulated platelets seen without clopidogrel. The in vivo model involved angioplasty and stenting at the site of a preinduced arterial lesion and thrombosis in pig carotid arteries. Clopidogrel alone or with aspirin (but not aspirin alone) decreased the number of stented vessels occluded for more than 24 h and conversely reduced the number of occluding thrombus. At 96 h after stenting, 100% and 90% of the arteries were patent with clopidogrel/aspirin and clopidogrel alone, respectively (vs. 67% and 44% with aspirin and saline, respectively). Clopidogrel destabilizes thrombus without complete abolishment of platelet reactivity.