Argatroban: A direct thrombin inhibitor for heparin-induced thrombocytopenia and other clinical applications

J. L. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Argatroban, a direct thrombin inhibitor derived from arginine, is an effective anticoagulant indicated for prophylaxis or treatment of thrombosis in patients with heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT). Argatroban has been used as an alternative anticoagulant in patients with HIT in various clinical conditions including interventional cardiovascular procedures that require anticoagulation. Satisfactory clinical outcomes with acceptable complications have been reported in these patients. Whether argatroban offers additional clinical advantage over conventional heparin therapy in patients without HIT remains unclear. Argatroban has been evaluated as an alternative anticoagulant to replace heparin in various clinical studies, especially in patients with coronary artery disease or cerebral vascular disease. To date, it remains unclear if argatroban is more effective than heparin, although the agent seems to cause less bleeding complications. This article reviews the pharmacology of argatroban and its clinical application beyond the management of HIT, with particular emphasis on interventional cardiology procedure, acute myocardial infarction, unstable angina pectoris, cerebral thrombosis or ischemic stroke, peripheral obstructive arterial disease, and extracorporeal circulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-198
Number of pages10
JournalHeart Disease
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Acute coronary syndrome
  • Anticoagulation
  • Antithrombin III
  • Argatroban
  • Cerebral thrombosis
  • Direct thrombin inhibitors
  • Extracorporeal circulation
  • HIT
  • Interventional cardiology procedure
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Thrombin
  • Thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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