Antithrombotic and antiplatelet therapies are the cornerstones of management of cardiovascular disorders today. Due to the safety and efficacy limitations of the classic antithrombotic, unfractionated heparin, considerable effort has been directed at developing novel anticoagulants. Direct thrombin inhibitors as a class of drugs offer inhibition of clot-bound as well as fluid-phase thrombin and a more predictable anticoagulant response. Specifically, argatroban, a synthetic small molecule direct thrombin inhibitor, selectively inhibits the catalytic site of thrombin in a reversible manner. Overall, argatroban's short half-life, ease of monitoring with an activated partial thromboplastin time, and safety in renal failure patients make this drug the preferable mode therapy for prevention of thrombosis in heparin-induced thrombocytopenia. The role of adjunctive argatroban therapy in acute coronary syndromes and during percutaneous coronary intervention is currently being studied.
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