Low molecular weight heparin administered once versus twice daily in patients with venous thromboembolism: a meta-analysis

F Couturaud, J A Julian, C Kearon
Thrombosis and Haemostasis 2001, 86 (4): 980-4

BACKGROUND: Low molecular weight heparin is as effective and safe as unfractionated heparin for treatment of acute venous thromboembolism. It is uncertain whether low molecular weight heparin should be administered once-daily or twice-daily in this setting.

METHOD: A meta-analysis of randomized studies which directly compared once- and twice-daily administration of low molecular weight heparin for the treatment of acute venous thromboembolism was performed. A literature search was performed using Advanced Pub Med and the Cochrane library database, and abstracts from recent meetings were reviewed. Two investigators extracted data independently.

RESULTS: Five studies, involving 1522 patients, were eligible. There were no statistically significant differences in the frequencies of symptomatic (odds ratio, 0.85 in favor of once-daily therapy at three months, p = 0.6), and asymptomatic, recurrent venous thromboembolism, total and major bleeds (odds ratio, 1.16 in favor of twice-daily therapy at 10 days, p = 0.8); and death, at 10 days, as well as at three months of follow-up.

CONCLUSION: Once-daily low molecular weight heparin appears to be as effective and safe as twice-daily administration for the acute treatment of venous thromboembolism. However, there is inadequate data from studies that directly compared once-daily and twice-daily administration to be able to exclude the possibility of a higher frequency of fatal bleeding with once-daily therapy.

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