Prophylaxis and treatment of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia

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“Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is a rare but potentially severe complication of heparin therapy that is strongly associated with venous and arterial thrombosis (HIT and thrombosis syndrome, HITTS), which requires urgent detection and treatment with a nonheparin anticoagulant.” Grouzi (2014).

Reference:

Grouzi, E. (2014) Update on argatroban for the prophylaxis and treatment of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia type II. Journal of Blood Medicine. 5, eCollection. p.131-41.

Abstract:

Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) is a rare but potentially severe complication of heparin therapy that is strongly associated with venous and arterial thrombosis (HIT and thrombosis syndrome, HITTS), which requires urgent detection and treatment with a nonheparin anticoagulant. Argatroban, a synthetic direct thrombin inhibitor, is indicated for the treatment and prophylaxis of thrombosis in patients with HIT, including those undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention. Argatroban has a relatively short elimination half-life of approximately 45 minutes, which is predominantly performed via hepatic metabolism. It is derived from L-arginine that selectively and reversibly inhibits thrombin, both clot-bound and free, at the catalytic site. Argatroban anticoagulation has been systematically studied in patients with HIT and HITTS and proved to be a safe and effective agent for this indication. The current review presents the pharmacology of argatroban, data regarding monitoring of the agent, and an overview of the results of the major clinical trials assessing argatroban anticoagulation in HIT patients. Additionally, data from recent clinical trials with argatroban use in more special indications such as in percutaneous coronary intervention, liver dysfunction, renal replacement therapy, and intensive care medicine, are reviewed. The approved initial dosage of argatroban for adults with HIT or HITTS is 2 μg/kg/minute for patients with normal hepatic function and 0.5 μg/kg/minute for patients with hepatic dysfunction. There is evidence that a reduced initial dose may also be advisable for patients with heart failure, multiple organ dysfunction, severe anasarca, or after cardiac surgery. Given this information, argatroban can be effectively used in treating HIT with monitoring of activated partial thromboplastin time.

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