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Researchers Find That Thromboembolism Can Be Safely Treated At Home

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Recurrent thromboembolism occurred in 3.8 per cent of the 345 patients in the unfractionated heparin group, and in 3.4 percent of the 352 patients in the low-molecular weight heparin group. The rate of major bleeding was comparable in the two groups.

The authors estimate that drug costs for a six-day course of treatment with low-molecular-weight heparin would be $712 (US), while unfractionated heparin would cost just $37 - assuming both drugs are administered in the regimens used in the study. The study indicates the potential for huge costs savings.

"Fixed-dose subcutaneous unfractionated heparin is as effective and safe as low-molecular-weight heparin for initial treatment of patients with venous thromboembolism and is suitable for treatment at home," concluded Dr. Kearon, who is a physician at Hamilton Health Sciences. "In addition, the results of this study question the value of APTT monitoring in patients who are treated with currently recommended doses of unfractionated heparin."

"We've come a long way from having to spend several weeks in hospital with an intravenous heparin drip to a possible out-patient treatment that is safe, efficient, and less expensive," says Dr. Andreas Wielgosz,spokesperson for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Source: EurekAlert.
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