Background: Low molecular weight heparin is as effective and safe as unfractionated heparin for treatment of acute venous thromboembolism. It is uncertain whether low molecular weight heparin should be administered once-daily or twice-daily in this setting.
Method: A meta-analysis of randomized studies which directly compared once- and twice-daily administration of low molecular weight heparin for the treatment of acute venous thromboembolism was performed. A literature search was performed using Advanced Pub Med and the Cochrane library database, and abstracts from recent meetings were reviewed. Two investigators extracted data independently.
Results: Five studies, involving 1522 patients, were eligible. There were no statistically significant differences in the frequencies of symptomatic (odds ratio, 0.85 in favor of once-daily therapy at three months, p = 0.6), and asymptomatic, recurrent venous thromboembolism, total and major bleeds (odds ratio, 1.16 in favor of twice-daily therapy at 10 days, p = 0.8); and death, at 10 days, as well as at three months of follow-up.
Conclusion: Once-daily low molecular weight heparin appears to be as effective and safe as twice-daily administration for the acute treatment of venous thromboembolism. However, there is inadequate data from studies that directly compared once-daily and twice-daily administration to be able to exclude the possibility of a higher frequency of fatal bleeding with once-daily therapy.