Review of enoxaparin and its clinical applications in venous and arterial thromboembolism
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Venous and arterial thromboembolic disorders are common medical conditions that are associated with considerable morbidity and mortality. Unfractionated heparin (UFH) and its derivatives, the low molecular weight heparins (LMWHs), are the anticoagulants of choice when a rapid anticoagulant effect is required. LMWHs have several advantages over UFH, including a longer plasma half-life and higher bioavailability; a predictable dose response, which enables once- or twice-daily dosing; and a more convenient route of administration (subcutaneous instead of intravenous), which enables patients to self-inject in an out-patient setting. Enoxaparin is a LMWH prepared by alkaline hydrolysis of the benzylin ester of UFH. The efficacy of enoxaparin in the management of venous and arterial thromboembolism has been shown in a wide range of patient groups using doses ranging from fixed doses of 20 - 60 mg o.d. and 0.75 - 1.5 mg/kg b.i.d. Other doses, such as 80 mg/day for pregnant women with combined thrombophilic defects, have also been studied. The use of subcutaneous enoxaparin as an effective and safe home treatment for patients with acute proximal deep vein thrombosis (DVT) has been demonstrated. The benefits of preventing venous thromboembolic events with enoxaparin include reducing the costs associated with investigating the symptoms of DVT, acute treatment and hospitalisation, and potentially the development of post-thrombotic syndrome, while improving quality of life and so making the treatment cost effective. In contrast to other LMWHs, enoxaparin has been shown to provide better outcomes than UFH in the treatment of unstable angina and non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction, without increasing major bleeding. Adverse events with enoxaparin are infrequent; the most common events are minor bleeding complications. It should be noted that different doses or indications are approved in each country.
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