Abciximab, tirofiban, and eptifibatide work by inhibiting platelet glycoprotein IIb/IIIa receptors, which then prevents binding of fibrinogen. Ultimately, by preventing binding of fibrinogen, these medications prevent aggregation of platelets, thereby preventing clot formation.
GP IIb/IIIa receptor inhibitors (abciximab, tirofiban, and eptifibatide) inhibit platelet aggregation. Abciximab causes irreversible inhibition while tirofiban and eptifibatide may be reversed by stopping the medication or dialyzing the patient.
GP IIb/IIIa receptor inhibitors are used for short-term prevention of thrombotic events in patients with acute coronary syndrome.
Patients with acute coronary syndrome experience a disruption of arterial plaque causing complications such as unstable angina, and myocardial infarction. Treatment with GP IIb/IIIa receptor inhibitors, in addition to heparin and aspirin, decreases the likelihood that the patient will experience a thrombotic event due to the disruption of plaque.
When patients undergo a procedure involving a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), the wall of the artery is damaged, increasing the risk of platelet aggregation and blood clot formation.
The major side effect associated with GP IIb/IIIa receptor inhibitors is bleeding, especially gastrointestinal hemorrhage. If bleeding or hemorrhage occurs, the infusion should be stopped immediately.
The cost of GP IIb/IIIa inhibitor therapy is expensive, often costing upwards of $1,000 for one course of treatment.
GP IIb/IIIa inhibitors are often administered to patients in combination with other medications, such as heparin and aspirin.
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