Enoxaparin (Lovenox) reduces the risk of blood clots in partially paralyzed stroke patients to a greater extent than unfractionated heparin, according to a large-scale multinational study.
Researchers at several centers here and abroad randomized 1,762 patients either to enoxaparin (a single daily injection) or unfractionated heparin, which requires two injections a day. All the patients (mean age 66 years) had experienced an ischemic stroke within 48 hours and were unable to walk unassisted.
Enoxaparin, an expensive form of low-molecular-weight heparin, reduced the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) by 43%, results showed. Ten percent (68) of the enoxaparin patients developed a VTE compared with 18% (121) of those who took unfractionated heparin. Internal or external cranial bleeding were rare, affecting only 1% of the patients in each group, although the rate of major extracranial bleeding was slightly higher among those taking enoxaparin.
“Enoxaparin is preferable to unfractionated heparin for VTE prophylaxis in view of its better clinical benefits-to-risk ratio and the convenience of once daily administration,” the researchers concluded (Lancet. 2007;369:1347-1355). The study was funded by Sanofi-Aventis, which manufactures Lovenox.