Advances in Antithrombotic Therapy: Novel Agents
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Most of the clinical evaluation of the direct thrombin inhibitors has been in coronary artery disease. The recent clinical reports suggest that there is a narrower window of safety with recombinant hirudin than initially thought particularly when it is used in conjunction with thrombolytic agents and aspirin in acute myocardial infarction. The efficacy data, however, indicate that the direct thrombin inhibitors have great potential particularly in the initial management of patients with acute unstable angina and non-Q-wave infarction. There is much to learn regarding the mechanism of action, optimal dose, and optimal concomitant therapy in the use of direct thrombin inhibitors in the management of acute coronary ischaemia; and since hirudin and other direct thrombin inhibitors have so much potential in the management of acute coronary ischaemia, it is critical that dose-finding studies be performed to determine safe regimens of these agents to allow their evaluation in large-scale trials with important clinical outcomes. The direct thrombin inhibitors have also shown to have promise in the prevention of deep vein thrombosis in high-risk surgical patients. There is limited clinical data on the other novel anticoagulants which are currently being developed.
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