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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Antiplatelet and Anticoagulant Pharmacology for the Laboratory Professional. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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GP IIb/IIIa Inhibitors

  • Examples: Abciximab, eptifibatide, and tirofiban are examples of drugs in this medication class.
  • Mechanism of action: Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa (GP IIb/IIIa) receptors exist on the surface of platelets. In the normal clotting process, a fibrin molecule will attach to the GP IIb/IIIa receptor on two neighboring platelets, linking them together. These drugs function to block the GP IIb/IIIa sites and prevent fibrin from binding to platelets in the clot formation process.
  • Use: The drugs in this class are especially useful after a patient has undergone coronary angioplasty, a procedure in which occluded arteries of the heart are opened.
  • Laboratory measurement: Laboratory measurement of these drugs is not routine, as they are usually given only for a short amount of time. They are often used with heparin during coronary angioplasty procedures.
  • Toxicity: Bleeding and allergic reactions are a risk with these drugs. Thrombocytopenia has also been noted with this class of medication.