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Am J Manag Care. 2000 Nov;6(20 Suppl):S1054-65; quiz 1066-7.

Economics of low-molecular weight heparins.

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Duke Center for Clinical Health Policy Research, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA.


Low-molecular weight heparins (LMWHs) have become attractive alternatives to standard unfractionated heparin (UFH) for the treatment and prophylaxis of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and for the management of acute coronary syndrome (ACS). The economic impact of the use of LMWHs has been studied in randomized controlled studies, in demonstration projects in managed care institutions, and in decision models. These studies provide valuable insight into the ways LMWHs can be economically attractive despite higher per unit costs compared with UFH. For the treatment of DVT, the cost benefit of using LMWHs results primarily from the cost shifting from inpatient to outpatient care, and might be limited by the eligibility of patients for outpatient management. In contrast, the attractiveness of LMWHs for ACS and DVT prophylaxis hinges on the increased effectiveness of LMWHs compared with standard UFH.

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