Combining enoxaparin and glycoprotein IIb/IIIa antagonists for the treatment of acute coronary syndromes: final results of the National Investigators Collaborating on Enoxaparin-3 (NICE-3) study

James J Ferguson, Elliott M Antman, Eric R Bates, Marc Cohen, Nathan R Every, Robert A Harrington, Carl J Pepine, Pierre Theroux
American Heart Journal 2003, 146 (4): 628-34

BACKGROUND: In high-risk patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS), there have been concerns relating to the safety of using low molecular weight heparins (LMWH) in combination with a glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa antagonist, and the continued use of LMWH in patients brought to the cardiac catheterization laboratory for percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

METHODS: The National Investigators Collaborating on Enoxaparin-3 (NICE-3) study was an open-label observational study of enoxaparin in combination with any 1 of 3 available GP IIb/IIIa antagonists in patients presenting with non-ST-elevation ACS. The primary end point was the incidence of major bleeding not related to coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery. Data were also recorded on the incidence of death, myocardial infarction (MI), and urgent revascularization for repeat ischemia.

RESULTS: A total of 671 patients with validated data were treated with enoxaparin; 628 of these patients also received a GP IIb/IIIa antagonist (tirofiban, n = 229; eptifibatide, n = 272; abciximab, n = 127); 283 of 628 underwent percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). The 30-day incidence of non-CABG major bleeding was 1.9%, and was not significantly higher than a prespecified historical control rate of 2.0%. Outcome events included death (1.0% at hospital discharge and 1.6% at 30 days), MI (3.5% and 5.1%, respectively), and urgent revascularization (2.7% and 6.8%, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: The safety of enoxaparin plus a GP IIb/IIIa antagonist was comparable to that of unfractionated heparin plus a GP IIb/IIIa antagonist, as reported in other recent major trials. Patients undergoing PCI can be safely managed with enoxaparin and a GP IIb/IIIa antagonist, without supplemental use of unfractionated heparin.

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