Direct thrombin inhibitors (DTIs) are an emerging class of anticoagulants in routine clinical practice, although they have been under investigation for quite some time. Desirudin (Iprivask ®, Canyon Pharmaceuticals™) is a recombinant hirudin derivative that directly inhibits free and fibrin-bound thrombin. Desirudin was the first DTI approved for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) prophylaxis in Europe (Revasc ®) and is the newest injectable DTI commercially available in the USA. Desirudin is one of the few nonheparin subcutaneous drugs that has demonstrable efficacy for DVT prophylaxis. Subcutaneous desirudin has been shown to be more effective than both subcutaneous unfractionated heparin and enoxaparin, with comparable bleeding rates in the prevention of DVT in patients undergoing elective hip replacement. Desirudin also offers the advantage of a fixed dosing regimen while being less immunogenic than unfractionated heparin. However, owing to its pharmacokinetic properties, patients with renal dysfunction require dosing modifications. The favorable profile shown with desirudin thus far will allow its clinical use to grow and will promote further investigation into broadening its clinical applications.
- deep vein thrombosis
- direct thrombin inhibitor
- heparin-induced thrombocytopenia
- thrombosis prophylaxis
- venous thromboembolism