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Drugs. 1996 Aug;52(2):276-305.

Dalteparin sodium. A review of its pharmacology and clinical use in the prevention and treatment of thromboembolic disorders.

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  • 1Adis International Limited, Auckland, New Zealand.


The low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) dalteparin sodium is notable for its improved pharmacokinetic characteristics (chiefly increased bioavailability and plasma elimination half-life) compared with unfractionated heparin (UFH). These properties enable the drug to be given subcutaneously as a single daily dose, compared with the 8- to 12-hourly regimens necessary with UFH. Dalteparin sodium also appears to exert a greater inhibitory effect than UFH on plasma activity of coagulation factor Xa relative to its effects on clotting times [usually expressed as activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT)] and activity of factor IIa. It is not associated with any clinically significant effects on the fibrinolytic system and may have less lipolytic activity than UFH. Extensive clinical studies have been conducted to compare the antithrombotic efficacy of dalteparin sodium with that of UFH in surgical thromboprophylaxis, treatment of established deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and the anticoagulation of patients undergoing haemodialysis and haemofiltration. The majority of trails of patients receiving thromboprophylactic heparin perioperatively have shown similar efficacy of dalteparin sodium and UFH in the prevention of DVT and pulmonary embolism (PE), although 2 groups of investigators reported superior antithrombotic potency for dalteparin sodium. The two types of heparin appear similarly effective in the management of established DVT and the maintenance of the extracorporeal circulation in haemodialysis circuits. Dalteparin sodium has also shown clinical benefit in the management of patients with unstable angina or non-Q-wave myocardial infarction. The overall incidence of haemorrhagic complications observed with daltparin sodium therapy is no greater than that associated with UFH, and data suggest that perioperative transfusion requirements and frequency of bleeding are lower after dalteparin sodium. The antithrombotic efficacy of dalteparin sodium is at least equivalent to that of UFH, although further clinical comparisons with other LMWHs are required. Further studies are also needed to clearly define any advantages of dalteparin sodium over UFH (and other antithrombotics) with regard to the incidence of haemorrhagic complications. The drug has also shown clinical efficacy in the prevention of myocardial infarction and death in patients with unstable coronary artery disease. In addition, there may be cost advantages attached to the once-daily subcutaneous regimen of dalteparin sodium, but this requires further examination. Thus, dalteparin sodium is an effective antithrombotic agent for perioperative thromboprophylaxis, the management of established DVT, and the anticoagulation of patients undergoing haemodialysis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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