The activation of platelets and the resultant aggregation have been shown to play important role in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and peripheral vascular diseases and in acute coronary syndromes. Hence platelet adhesion and aggregation have been identified as promising targets for the development of anti-thrombotic drugs. Glycoprotein (GP) IIb / IIIa antagonism exerts a strong anti-platelet effect, because this interference inhibits the final common pathway of platelet aggregation and is not dependent on a single activation pathway. Three GPIIb / IIIa antagonists have been approved by the US Food and Drug administration. They include abciximab (the chimeric monoclonal antibody 7E3 Fab fragment), eptifibatide (the cyclic heptapeptide based on the KGD amino acid sequence) and tirofiban (a nonpeptide tyrosine derivative). In addition, nonpeptide oral GPIIb / IIIa antagonists are also in various stages of clinical development. This paper reviews the molecular biology of the GPIIb / IIIa receptor, history of development of GPIIb / IIIa antagonists, some issues about GPIIb / IIIb antagonists including their affinity, reversibility and receptor specificity, adverse effects including bleeding and thrombocytopenia, clinical trials and costs. Future direction in the development of GPIIb / IIIa antagonists is also discussed.
Keywords: platelet, IIIa antagonist, abciximab, eptifibatide, tirofiban, lamifiban, thrombocytopenia, angioplasty
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