Comparison of subcutaneous unfractionated heparin with a low molecular weight heparin (Fragmin) in patients with venous thromboembolism and contraindications to coumarin

Thromb Haemost. 1994 Jan;71(1):7-11.


Intravenous heparin followed by oral anticoagulant therapy (e. g. with coumarin) is still the most widely used treatment for deep venous thromboembolism. Self-administered subcutaneous injections of heparin have been thought of as a promising alternative to coumarin, but the high doses required for ongoing prophylaxis have raised concerns about the possible development of bone disease. Certainly, long-term heparin therapy has been reported to cause osteoporosis in both laboratory animals and humans. This study aimed to compare the efficacy and safety of unfractionated (UF) heparin with that of a low molecular weight heparin (Fragmin, Kabi Pharmacia) in the prevention of recurrent deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) in a consecutive series of patients with contraindications to coumarin therapy. The patients comprised 40 men and 40 women, aged between 19 and 92 years (mean age, 68 years). They had all previously been diagnosed as having acute DVT and had been treated with conventional doses of heparin while in hospital. All patients had at least one of the following conditions: recent blood loss (either spontaneous or during admission while receiving heparin therapy); active gastroduodenal ulcer disease; psychological or physical inability or unwillingness to understand and accept the need for regular laboratory monitoring during coumarin treatment; chronic alcoholism; dementia; pregnancy; recent neurosurgery, and pericardial effusion; or were over 80 years of age. They were randomly allocated to receive either UF heparin, 10,000 IU s.c. b.d., or Fragmin, 5000 IU anti-Factor Xa s.c. b.d., for a period of 3-6 months.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Contraindications
  • Coumarins
  • Dalteparin / administration & dosage
  • Dalteparin / adverse effects
  • Dalteparin / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Fractures, Spontaneous / chemically induced
  • Hemorrhage / chemically induced
  • Heparin / administration & dosage
  • Heparin / adverse effects
  • Heparin / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Compliance
  • Pulmonary Embolism / drug therapy*
  • Recurrence
  • Spinal Fractures / chemically induced
  • Thromboembolism / drug therapy*


  • Coumarins
  • Heparin
  • coumarin
  • Dalteparin