Drotrecogin alfa activated (recombinant human activated protein C) in combination with heparin or melagatran: effects on prothrombin time and activated partial thromboplastin time

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Recombinant human activated protein C (rhAPC) has recently been demonstrated to be a promising candidate to improve the outcome for patients with severe sepsis. Plasma-derived activated protein C and unfractionated heparin (UH) exert anticoagulant synergy due to mechanisms that simultaneously decrease thrombin generation. Melagatran, a new direct thrombin inhibitor, does not bind to plasma proteins or requires antithrombin as a cofactor. The latter is often consumed in patients with severe sepsis. We investigated the anticoagulant efficiency in combined administration of rhAPC and UH or melagatran in terms of prolongation of the standard clotting assays activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT) and prothrombin time (PT) in pooled plasma samples in vitro. RhAPC dose-dependently prolonged the aPTT but not the PT. The ability of UH and melagatran to prolong the aPTT was significantly enhanced in combination with rhAPC. The combined administration of rhAPC and melagatran, but not UH, resulted in additive prolongation of the PT. In control measurements the capability of rhAPC to suppress prothrombin fragment 1.2 generation dose-dependently increased in combination with heparin and melagatran. Our study demonstrates the respective effects of rhAPC, UH, melagatran and further different additive effects in combined administration of rhAPC and UH or melagatran on the prolongation of the aPTT and PT clotting assays usually used to monitor anticoagulant treatment.

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