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What is Argatroban®?

By Andy Josiah
Updated May 17, 2024
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Argatroban® is a medication used to treat people with thrombosis, which involves the formation of blood clots. The medication is described as an anticoagulant, which means that it stops blood from clotting. It is also used for prophylaxis, thus making it a medical procedure for preventing a disease or medical condition rather than treating or curing it.

Argatroban® is a direct thrombin inhibitor. This is a class of anticoagulant that works by suppressing the enzyme thrombin, which plays an active role in blood clotting. It is specifically designed for people suffering from heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT), a disease that involves the presence of relatively few platelets in the blood, which triggers thrombosis.

This particular HIT medication is manufactured as a white, odorless crystalline powder. It is prepared as a 250 ml solution and stored in a single-use 2.5 ml vial. As a solution, Argatroban® is clear and slightly thick, with a colorless or pale yellow color. Vials with solution that is cloudy or insoluble should be discarded immediately. Patients should not freeze the medication and are encouraged to retain the vials in the cartons they came packaged in to protect them from light.

Argatroban® is administered by an injection into a vein. Doctors usually determine the dosage according to the patient's weight, medical condition, and response to treatment. In cases where the patient has liver issues, doctors considerably reduce the initial dosage as a precautionary measure.

Side effects of Argatroban® include fever, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, coughing, and abdominal pain. In some more extreme cases, patients may experience some bleeding. Argatroban®'s use with some other anticoagulants may in fact increase the risk of bleeding.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved of Argatroban® in 2000. Two years later, the FDA approved it for use during a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). This is a class of medical procedures that involves widening arteries to improve blood flow. PCIs are performed on patients who either have HIT or are likely to develop it.

The FDA places Argatroban® in Category B of its five-tier pregnancy risk classification system regarding pharmaceuticals. This means that the drug's tests on animal reproduction have failed to demonstrate a risk to pregnancy. Only Category A surpasses Category B in terms of low risk, which indicates that Argatroban® is one of the safest medications that pregnant patients can use.

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