Anticoagulation therapy in children

Ronghe, M. D., Halsey, C. and Goulden, N. J. (2003) Anticoagulation therapy in children. Pediatric Drugs, 5(12), pp. 803-820. (doi: 10.2165/00148581-200305120-00004) (PMID:14658922)

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Thromboembolic disease (TED) is increasingly recognized as a major cause of morbidity and mortality in tertiary pediatrics. Children younger than 1 year of age and teenage girls are at greatest risk of thromboembolism. Although anticoagulation therapy is the treatment of choice for TED, the treatment strategy is often difficult, especially in children. Treatment relies largely on anticoagulation with heparin and warfarin. Recommendations for antithrombotic therapy in children have been loosely extrapolated from recommendations for adults; however, it is likely that optimal treatment of children with TED differs from adults because of important ontogenic features of hemostasis that affect both the pathophysiology of the thrombotic processes and the response to antithrombotic agents. Until recently, the primary treatment for TED has been unfractionated heparin (UFH) in conjunction with warfarin. Warfarin, the most commonly used oral anticoagulant, acts through inhibition of the vitamin K-dependent transcarboxylation reactions that convert precursors of clotting factors into their active form. Appropriate use of UFH and warfarin requires close patient monitoring and dosage adjustments to ensure tolerability and efficacy. In recent years, low molecular weight heparins (LMWH) have become available as alternatives to UFH and warfarin, for both the prevention and treatment of TED. Potentially, LMWH have significant advantages. They have superior pharmacokinetics, which results in minimal laboratory monitoring, offering important benefits to children with poor venous access. Based on available data, LMWHs are at least as effective and well tolerated as UFH, and are more convenient. Although LMWHs are more expensive than UFH, the expense is likely to be offset by savings from a reduced hospital stay.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Halsey, Professor Chris
Authors: Ronghe, M. D., Halsey, C., and Goulden, N. J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Cancer Sciences
Journal Name:Pediatric Drugs
ISSN (Online):1179-2019

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