Once-daily subcutaneous dalteparin, a low molecular weight heparin, for the initial treatment of acute deep vein thrombosis

J N Fiessinger, M Lopez-Fernandez, E Gatterer, S Granqvist, A Kher, C G Olsson, K Söderberg
Thrombosis and Haemostasis 1996, 76 (2): 195-9
The aim of the study was to compare the efficacy and safety of once-daily subcutaneous injection of dalteparin, a low molecular weight heparin, with that of intravenous unfractionated heparin in the treatment of deep venous thrombosis (DVT). Patients were included if they had deep venous thrombosis distal to inguinal ligament and were randomised either before, if it was considered necessary, or after phlebographic verification of the diagnosis. There was no pre-inclusion treatment with unfractionated heparin. One hundred and twenty patients received dalteparin, administered subcutaneously once-daily at a fixed dose of 200 IU anti-factor Xa/kg, and 133 patients received a continuous intravenous infusion of unfractionated heparin (UFH). Oral anticoagulation was started on the first or second day, and initial treatment with dalteparin or UFH discontinued when the prothrombin time was in the therapeutic range (2 < INR < 3) on two consecutive days. Control phlebograms were taken within 4 days, thereafter. There were no significant differences between the two initial treatment groups in improvements in Marder score. Two major bleeding events occurred in the UFH group versus none in the dalteparin group. One patient in each group experienced clinically significant pulmonary embolism. During a mean follow-up period of 6.9 +/- 1.5 months, recurrent DVT occurred in four patients in the dalteparin group and in two of the UFH group. These results confirm those of a previous study on dalteparin in the initial treatment of DVT, and suggest that dalteparin administered once-daily at a fixed dose of 200 UI/kg is as effective and well-tolerated as UFH in patients with DVT below the inguinal ligament. The present study also demonstrates that dalteparin can be started as soon as the diagnosis of DVT is suspected and without pre-treatment with UFH. Given that the administration of once-daily subcutaneous injections needs not require a patient to be hospitalised, studies to investigate the possibility of using dalteparin for the initial treatment of DVT in the outpatient setting are warranted.

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