Absorbable hemostatic agents

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PurposeThe pharmacology, clinical efficacy, adverse effects and toxicities, drug interactions, dosage and administration, and safety issues related to the use of absorbable hemostatic agents are reviewed.SummaryAbsorbable hemostatic agents exert their pharmacologic effects at various points within the coagulation cascade. These agents are indicated for use during surgical procedures as adjunctive therapy when bleeding is not controlled by conventional methods. Early clinical data on absorbable hemostatic agents revealed a beneficial effect with regard to controlling capillary bleeding, achieving hemostasis during vascular surgery, and controlling bleeding from fistula-puncture sites. Few randomized controlled clinical trials have directly compared available agents, but case reports describing the efficacy of absorbable hemostatic agents in specific situations, especially unlabeled uses of thrombin, abound. Existing trials have compared the efficacy of established agents with newer agents, including fibrin sealants, with varying results. A variety of rarely occurring adverse effects have been reported with the administration of absorbable hemostatic agents; some of these rare effects, such as paralysis, are quite severe. No standardized dosing regimens are available for these agents, although surgeons may have a preference for a particular regimen based on their own clinical experience. No drug interactions involving absorbable hemostatic agents have been published; however, the use of these agents with other medications that affect hemostasis may disrupt clot formation.ConclusionAbsorbable hemostatic agents are useful as adjunctive therapy during surgical procedures when conventional methods do not control bleeding. Although rare adverse effects have occurred with these agents, their careful administration will prevent serious adverse outcomes.

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