Goa KL. Noble S. Eptifibatide: a review of its use in patients with acute coronary syndromes and/or undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention. Drugs. 57(3):439-62, 1999.
Eptifibatide, a cyclic peptide, is a highly specific, intravenously administered glycoprotein (GP) IIb/IIIa receptor antagonist. By preventing fibrinogen binding to the GP IIb/IIIa receptor, eptifibatide inhibits platelet aggregation and prevents thrombus formation. Clinically, the drug is used as an adjunct to heparin and aspirin. The PURSUIT trial, conducted in >10,000 patients with unstable angina or non-Q-wave myocardial infarction (MI), showed that eptifibatide (180 mcg/kg bolus then 2 mcg/kg/min infusion for < or =72 hours) reduces the 30-day risk of death or nonfatal MI, with this benefit apparent at 96 hours. The absolute reduction in this end-point of 1.5% persisted at 6 months. The drug is effective in patients undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), and, as shown in the North American subgroup, in patients in whom medical management is appropriate. Eptifibatide is also beneficial in patients undergoing PCI, whether or not they have unstable angina or non-Q-wave MI. In a dosage of 135 mcg/kg then 0.5 mcg/kg/min for 24 hours, eptifibatide reduced the 30-day risk of a combined end-point (death, nonfatal MI and urgent or emergency coronary interventions) by 2.5% (absolute reduction) in patients undergoing PCI in the IMPACT-II trial, when measured by per-protocol (patients treated), but not intent-to-treat, analysis. The drug also decreased the incidence of abrupt vessel closure and ischemic cardiovascular complications in the first 24 hours (the period of greatest risk). Bleeding episodes are the most common adverse event associated with eptifibatide therapy. Although the incidence of major bleeding is increased with eptifibatide, most bleeding episodes are minor and occur at the vascular access site. The drug is not associated with an excess of intracranial bleeds, stroke or thrombocytopenia, does not appear to increase bleeding risk in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), and does not cause antibody formation. Limited data suggest that eptifibatide may improve coronary flow when combined with alteplase in patients with acute Q-wave MI, but the possibility of increased bleeding with eptifibatide plus thrombolytics should be borne in mind. Intravenous eptifibatide, when combined with aspirin and heparin, reduces the 30-day risk of ischemic events in patients with unstable angina and non-Q-wave MI and decreases ischemic cardiovascular complications at the time of greatest risk in patients undergoing PCI. With its acceptable tolerability profile eptifibatide is a suitable option as a short term adjunct in these clinical settings. Whether eptifibatide in combination with fibrinolysis may improve outcome in patients with acute Q-wave MI has yet to be determined.