, Volume 71, Issue 15, pp 2009–2030

Optimal Use of Platelet Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa Receptor Antagonists in Patients Undergoing Percutaneous Coronary Interventions


  • H. Benjamin Starnes
    • Division of CardiologyUniversity of North Carolina
  • Ankit A. Patel
    • Division of CardiologyUniversity of North Carolina
    • Division of CardiologyUniversity of North Carolina
Review Article

DOI: 10.2165/11595010-000000000-00000

Cite this article as:
Benjamin Starnes, H., Patel, A.A. & Stouffer, G.A. Drugs (2011) 71: 2009. doi:10.2165/11595010-000000000-00000


Discovery of the central role of platelets in the pathogenesis of acute coronary syndromes (ACS) and ischaemic complications of percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) has led to the widespread use of oral and parenteral platelet inhibitors to treat these conditions. Glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa (also known as αIIbβ3) receptors on the surface of platelets play an essential role in platelet aggregation and serve as a key mediator in the formation of arterial thrombus. When activated, GP IIb/IIIa receptors bind to fibrinogen, which serves as the ‘final common pathway’ in platelet aggregation. Of the numerous agents developed for modulating platelet activity, intravenous platelet GP IIb/IIIa receptor antagonists are the most potent.

There are four agents in clinical use, including abciximab, eptifibatide, tirofiban and lamifiban, although lamifiban is not approved for use in the US. While all agents block fibrinogen binding to GP IIb/IIIa, they do so by different mechanisms. Abciximab is a humanized form of a murine monoclonal antibody directed against GP IIb/IIIa, eptifibatide is a synthetic, cyclic heptapeptide that contains a lysine-glycine-aspartic acid (KGD) sequence that mimics the arginine-glycine-aspartic acid (RGD) sequence found on GP IIb/IIIa, tirofiban is a non-peptide antagonist derived by optimization of the tyrosine analogue that structurally mimicks the RGD-containing loop of the disintegrin echistatin, and lamifiban is a synthetic, non-cyclic, non-peptide, low-molecular-weight compound. In clinical trials, use of these agents reduces ischaemic adverse cardiovascular events in patients with ACS undergoing PCI, but at a cost of increased bleeding.

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