If you have a condition known as heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT), your healthcare provider may prescribe argatroban. But what is argatroban and how does it work?
Argatroban is used to prevent and treat blood clots in people who have HIT, a potentially dangerous reaction that sometimes occurs due to heparin or heparin-like medications. It can also be used as a "blood-thinning" medicine in people who have to undergo angioplasty procedures and have HIT or are at risk for this reaction.
Although argatroban does not break down blood clots, it can slow down the formation of clots so the body has a chance to break them down naturally. As a type of direct thrombin inhibitor, argatroban works by blocking the actions of thrombin, a naturally occurring protein in the body that encourages clot formation. By inhibiting thrombin, argatroban helps to prevent the formation of blood clots.
(Click Argatroban for more details on what argatroban is and how it works. This full-length article also discusses potential side effects, general dosing guidelines, safety concerns, and more.)
Written by/reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Argatroban [package insert]. Research Triangle Park, NC: GlaxoSmithKline;2009 March.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed January 4, 2012.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 8th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2008.
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