Biochemical characterization of the haemostatic system has advanced significantly in the past decades. Sub-systems, such as coagulation, fibrinolysis, blood cells and platelets and the vessel wall have been studied by specialists, mostly separately and independently. The time has come to integrate the approaches, and, in particular, to develop tests to document the state of the whole system and to have available adequate pharmacodynamic tests to evaluate treatments. Many examples are available to show that traditional general methods of clotting and lysis do not provide the information that is desired. The present tendency is to use specific methods for specific factors or effects which are very limited in pharmacological information. There is also increasing awareness of the occurrence of rather broad interindividual variability in the haemostatic system. This suggests that individually tailored treatments are required. This is the more relevant since haemostasis is a balance and treatment should be positioned between efficacy and safety. The conclusion is reached that there is a need for integrated or global methods or sets of methods that reflect the complexity and individual status appropriately and allow the practitioner to judge the effects of interventions and their individual aspects.
© 2011 The Authors. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology © 2011 The British Pharmacological Society.