Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa Inhibitors

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Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors are classified as potent platelet inhibitors. These agents are used to prevent platelets from binding together, which can occur in patients with heart attacks and after angioplasty with or without stent placement.

Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors are medicines used in treating patients who have unstable angina, certain types of heart attacks, and in combination with angioplasty with or without stent placement. They are given in combination with heparin or aspirin (blood-thinning agents) to prevent clotting before and during invasive heart procedures.

Just in case you want to know (two platelets and their “sticking points”):


The following list identifies specific glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors and their brand names:

  • Abciximab (ReoPro®)
  • Eptifibatide (Integrilin®)
  • Tirofiban (Aggrastat®)

Patients with an acute coronary syndrome, such as unstable angina or certain kinds of heart attacks, are eligible to receive one of these agents. Other eligible patients include those undergoing coronary angioplasty with or without stent placement.

Patients who do not have low platelet counts and who are not at high risk for severe bleeding might be good candidates for the glycoprotein inhibitors. Patients with active internal bleeding should not take glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors.

As with any medicine, an allergic reaction might occur, but the most common side effect of glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors is bleeding. Before, during, and after this medicine is taken, patients should have blood tests that indicate platelet count and clotting time of the blood.

Clotting tests might include
  • Prothrombin time (PT)
  • International normalization ratio (INR)
  • Activated clotting time (ACT)
  • Activated partial thromboplastin time (APTT)

Bleeding due to this medicine can occur anywhere in the body, but usually occurs around incision areas, mucous membranes (e.g., nose), the urinary tract, and the stomach.

This medicine is given in the hospital, and patients are closely monitored so that any possible side effects might be treated promptly.

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