Management of refractory anti-phospholipid syndrome

Tina Scoble, Sonali Wijetilleka, Munther A Khamashta
Autoimmunity Reviews 2011, 10 (11): 669-73
Anti-phospholipid syndrome (APS) is an autoimmune prothrombotic disorder characterised by the predisposition to venous and/or arterial thrombosis and obstetric morbidity. Management of APS centres on attenuating the procoagulant state whilst balancing the risks of anticoagulant therapy. Cases of recurrent thromboses and obstetric complications occur despite optimum therapy. Alternative therapies for refractory cases are subject to disparity among clinicians due to the current lack of clinical evidence present. This review aims to address the current management strategies for refractory thrombotic and obstetric cases and future therapeutic interventions. The role and current clinical evidence of using long term low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) as an alternative to warfarin therapy for refractory thromboses is evaluated. Potential alternatives for thromboses including statins, hydroxychloroquine, Rituximab are reviewed as well as the additional avenues to target in the future as the pathogenic mechanisms of APS are unveiled. The optimal management for refractory obstetric APS cases is subject to controversy. This review focuses and assesses the current evidence for the uses of low dose prednisolone, intravenous immunoglobulin and hydroxycholoroquine in obstetric cases. The treatment modalities for the management of refractory APS require further clinical evidence.

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