Argatroban therapy in heparin-induced thrombocytopenia.
Argatroban is a direct thrombin inhibitor approved for anticoagulation in heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT; in several countries) and in patients with or at risk of HIT undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI; in the USA). HIT is a relatively common extreme prothrombotic condition. When HIT is reasonably suspected, an alternative anticoagulant should be promptly initiated. In historical controlled studies, argatroban reduced new thrombosis, mortality from thrombosis and the composite of death, amputation or thrombosis, without increasing bleeding. With intravenous infusion, advantages include short half-life, easy monitoring and elimination primarily by hepatobiliary (rather than renal) means. In patients undergoing PCI, argatroban with or without glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibition leads to high rates of procedural success with low bleeding risk. Herein we review argatroban therapy for HIT and for PCI.