Bivalirudin (Angiomax or Angiox, manufactured by The Medicines Company) is a specific and reversible direct thrombin inhibitor (DTI).
Chemically, it is a synthetic congener of the naturally occurring drug hirudin (found in the saliva of the medicinal leech Hirudo medicinalis).
Bivalirudin is a DTI that overcomes many limitations seen with indirect thrombin inhibitors, such as heparin. Bivalirudin is a short, synthetic peptide that is potent, highly specific, and a reversible inhibitor of thrombin. It inhibits both circulating and clot-bound thrombin, while also inhibiting thrombin-mediated platelet activation and aggregation. Bivalirudin has a quick onset of action and a short half-life. It does not bind to plasma proteins (other than thrombin) or to red blood cells. Therefore it has a predictable antithrombotic response. There is no risk for Heparin Induced Thrombocytopenia/Heparin Induced Thrombosis-Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (HIT/HITTS). It does not require a binding cofactor such as antithrombin and does not activate platelets. These characteristics make bivalirudin an ideal alternative to heparin.
Bivalirudin clinical studies demonstrated consistent positive outcomes in patients with stable angina, unstable angina (UA), non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI), and ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) undergoing PCI in 7 major randomized trials.
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