, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp 206-211

Low molecular weight heparin in acute coronary syndromes

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Traditionally, unfractionated heparin has played an important role in the treatment of acute coronary syndromes. Low molecular weight heparin (LMWH), is a promising new type of heparin, which is fractionated to include only heparin molecules of lower molecular weight. LMWHs are administered subcutaneously and do not require monitoring of the activated partial thromboplastin time, making them much easier to use. LMWHs are combined inhibitors of both thrombin and Factor Xa inhibitors. Several recent large trials in unstable angina and non-Q wave myocardial infarction have shown that LMWH is effective, and one agent has been shown to be superior to unfractionated heparin in reducing death, myocardial infarction, or recurrent angina. They also are very low cost (approximately $50 per day) and appear to be very cost effective in the treatment of unstable angina. Thus, LMWHs appear to be the new anticoagulant agent in acute coronary syndromes.