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Br J Pharmacol. 2008 Mar;153(6):1120-7. Epub 2007 Oct 1.

Pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and safety of LMWHs in venous thrombosis and stroke in neonates, infants and children.

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Department of Paediatric Haematology and Oncology, University of Münster, Münster, Germany.


Since the early nineties it has been shown that low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) has significant advantages over unfractionated heparin and oral anticoagulants for both the treatment and the prevention of thrombosis, not only in adults, but also in children. The present review was based on an 'EMBASE', 'Medline' and 'PubMed' search including literature published in any language since 1980 on LMWH in neonates, infants and children. It included paediatric pharmacokinetic studies, the use of LMWH in children with venous thrombosis, LMWH administration in paediatric patients with ischaemic stroke, and its use in order to prevent symptomatic thromboembolism in children at risk. An increasing rate of off-label use of LMWH in children has been reported, showing that LMWHs offer important benefits to children with symptomatic thromboembolic events and poor venous access. Two well-conducted pharmacokinetic studies in this age group showed that neonates and younger infants require higher LMWH doses than older children to achieve the targeted anti-Xa levels, due to an increased extra vascular clearance. Recurrent symptomatic thromboses under LMWH occur in approximately 4% of children treated for venous thrombosis, and in 7% of children treated for stroke; major bleed was documented in 3% of children with therapeutic target LMWH anti-Xa levels, whereas minor bleeding was reported in approximately 23% of children receiving either therapeutic or prophylactic doses, respectively. Further randomized controlled trials are recommended to evaluate the optimum duration and application for different LMWH indications in children.

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