Although intravenous heparin has been the treatment of choice for acute VTE disease, LMWHs are gaining wider recognition and support as not only a new option but also as the standard of care. Each LMWH is viewed as a unique drug by regulatory agencies because of their differing physical and pharmacokinetic attributes. LMWHs have high absorption, high bioavailability, and long half-lives enabling once- or twice-daily dosing with predictable dose-response relationships. These factors enable the LMWHs to be used without laboratory monitoring and at home for acute DVT management. Studies continue to show that LMWH preparations are as at least as effective as heparin in a variety of settings, including VTE disease prophylaxis, management of acute VTE disease, unstable angina, and NSTEMI. They are at least as safe as heparin relative to hemorrhagic complications. Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia is less of a problem with LMWHs. Use of LMWHs has resulted in cost benefits in the treatment of acute DVT, unstable angina, and NSTEMI as well as in prophylaxis against venous thromboembolism. Emergency physicians, because of their unique position at the forefront of acute care, will soon regularly use LMWHs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Emergency Medicine