Non-ST-Segment Elevation MI and Unstable Angina: What Role for Anticoagulants and Antiplatelet Agents?
March 01, 2007
ABSTRACT: Antiplatelet agents used to treat non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) and unstable angina include aspirin, clopidogrel, and glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa inhibitors. Aspirin is recommended for all patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS). Clopidogrel can also be used in all patients with ACS, although this agent increases the risk of major bleeding complications if coronary artery bypass grafting is performed less than 5 days after the last dose. Early use of a GP IIb/IIIa inhibitor provides additional benefit in patients with NSTEMI, particularly those who undergo percutaneous coronary intervention. Agents used for anticoagulation in patients with NSTEMI or unstable angina include unfractionated heparin, low molecular weight heparins (LMWHs), and the direct thrombin inhibitor bivalirudin. Enoxaparin-the only LMWH currently indicated for treatment of patients with NSTEMI-can be considered as an alternative to unfractionated heparin, particularly in those who do not require urgent cardiac catheterization.