Changing trends in anti-coagulant therapies. Are heparins and oral anti-coagulants challenged?

Hemostasis and Thrombosis Research Laboratoires, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, IL, USA.
International angiology: a journal of the International Union of Angiology (Impact Factor: 1.01). 07/2008; 27(3):176-92.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The conventional management of thrombotic and cardiovascular disorders is based on the use of heparin, oral anticoagulants and aspirin. Despite progress in the sciences, these drugs still remain a challenge and mystery. The development of low molecular weight heparins (LMWHS) and the synthesis of heparinomimetics represent a refined use of heparin. Additional drugs will continue to develop. However, none of these drugs will ever match the polypharmacology of heparin. Aspirin still remains the leading drug in the management of thrombotic and cardiovascular disorders. The newer antiplatelet drugs such as adenosine diphosphate receptor inhibitors, GPIIb/IIIa inhibitors and other specific inhibitors have limited effects and have been tested in patients who have already been treated with aspirin. Warfarin provides a convenient and affordable approach in the long-term outpatient management of thrombotic disorders. The optimized use of these drugs still remains the approach of choice to manage thrombotic disorders. The new anticoagulant targets, such as tissue factor, individual clotting factors, recombinant forms of serpins (antithrombin, heparin co-factor II and tissue factor pathway inhibitors), recombinant activated protein C, thrombomodulin and site specific serine proteases inhibitors complexes have also been developed. There is a major thrust on the development of orally bioavailable anti-Xa and IIa agents, which are slated to replace oral anticoagulants. Both the anti-factor Xa and anti-IIa agents have been developed for oral use and have provided impressive clinical results. However, safety concerns related to liver enzyme elevations and thrombosis rebound have been reported with their use. For these reasons, the US Food and Drug Administration did not approve the orally active antithrombin agent Ximelagatran for several indications. The synthetic pentasaccharide (Fondaparinux) has undergone clinical development. Unexpectedly, Fondaparinux also produced major bleeding problems at minimal dosages. Fondaparinux represents only one of the multiple pharmacologic effects of heparins. Thus, its therapeutic index will be proportionately narrower. The newer antiplatelet drugs have added a new dimension in the management of thrombotic disorders. The favorable clinical outcomes with aspirin and clopidogrel have validated COX-1 and P2Y12 receptors as targets for new drug development. Prasugrel, a novel thienopyridine, Cangrelor and AZD 6140 represent newer P2Y12 antagonists. Cangrelor and AZD 6140 are direct inhibitors, whereas Prasugrel requires metabolic activation. While clinically effective, recent results have prompted a closure of a clinical trial with Prasugrel due to bleeding. The newer anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs are attractive, however, none of these are expected to replace the conventional drugs in polytherapeutic approaches. Heparins, warfarin and aspirin will continue to play a major role in the management of thrombotic and cardiovascular disorders for years to come.

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    11/2009, Degree: Ph.D. (Candidate of Biological Sciences), Supervisor: Borodin E.A.
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