Which medications in the drug class Antithrombotic Agents are used in the treatment of Myocardial Infarction?

Updated: May 07, 2019
  • Author: A Maziar Zafari, MD, PhD, FACC, FAHA; Chief Editor: Eric H Yang, MD  more...
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Antithrombotic Agents

Antithrombotic agents, which include heparin, bivalirudin, and enoxaparin, prevent the formation of thrombi associated with myocardial infarction and inhibit platelet function by blocking cyclooxygenase and subsequent platelet aggregation. Antiplatelet therapy has been shown to reduce mortality rates by reducing the risk of fatal myocardial infarctions, fatal strokes, and vascular death. Unfractionated intravenous heparin and fractionated low-molecular-weight subcutaneous heparins are the 2 choices for initial anticoagulation therapy.

Bivalirudin (Angiomax)

Bivalirudin, a synthetic analogue of recombinant hirudin, inhibits thrombin; it is used for anticoagulation in patients with unstable angina who are undergoing PCI. With provisional use of glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitor (GP IIb/IIIa inhibitor), bivalirudin is indicated for use as an anticoagulant in patients undergoing PCI. Potential advantages over conventional heparin therapy include more predictable and precise levels of anticoagulation, activity against clot-bound thrombin, absence of natural inhibitors (eg, platelet factor 4, heparinase), and continued efficacy following clearance from plasma (because of binding to thrombin).


Heparin augments the activity of antithrombin III and prevents the conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin. Heparin does not actively lyse, but it is able to inhibit further thrombus formation and prevents reaccumulation of a clot after spontaneous fibrinolysis.

Enoxaparin (Lovenox)

Enoxaparin enhances the inhibition of factor Xa and thrombin by increasing antithrombin III activity. In addition, it preferentially increases the inhibition of factor Xa. Enoxaparin is indicated for the treatment of acute STEMI managed medically or with subsequent PCI. It is also indicated for prophylaxis of ischemic complications caused by unstable angina and non-Q-wave myocardial infarction.

Dalteparin (Fragmin)

Enhances inhibition of factor Xa and thrombin by increasing antithrombin III activity. In addition, preferentially increases inhibition of factor Xa.

Except in overdoses, no utility exists in checking PT or aPTT, because aPTT does not correlate with anticoagulant effect of fractionated LMWH.

Average duration of treatment is 7-14 d.

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