Direct thrombin inhibitors for treatment of arterial thrombosis: potential differences between bivalirudin and hirudin
- Additional Document Info
- View All
Given the central role of thrombin in arterial thrombogenesis, most treatment strategies for acute coronary syndromes are aimed at inhibiting its generation or blocking its activity. Although heparin has been widely used, it has limitations in the setting of arterial thrombosis. These limitations reflect the inability of heparin to inactivate thrombin bound to fibrin, a major stimulus for thrombus growth. In addition, the anticoagulant response to heparin varies from patient to patient, and heparin is neutralized by platelet Factor IV, large quantities of which are released from platelets activated at sites of plaque rupture. Consequently, heparin requires careful laboratory monitoring to ensure an adequate anticoagulant effect. Direct thrombin inhibitors, such as hirudin and bivalirudin, overcome the limitations of heparin. These agents inhibit fibrin-bound thrombin, as well as fluid-phase thrombin, and produce a predictable anticoagulant response. Bivalirudin has both safety and potential efficacy advantages over hirudin. Bivalirudin appears to have a wider therapeutic window than hirudin, possibly because bivalirudin only transiently inhibits the active site of thrombin. The better safety profile of bivalirudin permits administration of higher doses, which may give it an efficacy advantage. Hirudin prevents thrombin from activating protein C, thereby suppressing this natural anticoagulant pathway. In contrast, bivalirudin may promote protein C activation by transiently inhibiting thrombin until it can be bound by thrombomodulin. Differences between bivalirudin and hirudin, as well as other direct thrombin inhibitors, highlight the pitfalls of considering all direct thrombin inhibitors to have equivalent risk-benefit profiles.
has subject area
presented at event