The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved fondaparinux sodium (Arixtra) injection for reducing the risk of deep venous thrombosis following orthopedic surgery for hip fracture, hip replacement, and knee replacement. According to the FDA, fondaparinux injection is the first synthetic anticoagulant indicated for use in these types of surgeries.
Fondaparinux inhibits Factor Xa, which can lead to blood clots in the deep veins of the legs following surgery. The main side effects of fondaparinux are bleeding complications. Patients who weigh less than 50 kg (110 lb) or who have severely impaired renal function (creatinine clearance less than 30 mL per minute) should not be given fondaparinux because they may be at increased risk for serious bleeding. Elderly patients may also be more likely to have serious bleeding complications. The labeling for fondaparinux includes a warning that patients taking fondaparinux who undergo spinal anesthesia or spinal puncture have a risk of developing a blood clot in the spine, which can lead to permanent paralysis.
For more information on fondaparinux, visit the FDA Web site at www.fda.gov.
COPYRIGHT 2002 American Academy of Family Physicians
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