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Antiphospholipid Syndrome and Pregnancy Medication

  • Author: Teresa G Berg, MD, FACOG; Chief Editor: Thomas Chih Cheng Peng, MD  more...
 
Updated: Apr 15, 2015
 

Medication Summary

In women with well-recognized obstetric APS, anticoagulant prophylaxis is recommended during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Pregnant women with APS are considered at risk for thrombosis and pregnancy loss. Data suggest low-dose aspirin and heparin (either unfractionated heparin or LMWH) to be the treatments of choice for prevention of pregnancy loss in pregnant women with APS and previous pregnancy losses. Pregnant women with APS and a history of thrombosis but no pregnancy loss require only treatment with heparin. Treatment is optional for patients with no history of pregnancy loss or thrombosis.

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Anticoagulants, Hematologic

Class Summary

Unfractionated intravenous (IV) heparin and fractionated subcutaneous (SC) LMWH are the 2 choices for initial anticoagulation therapy. Warfarin therapy may be initiated in the postpartum stage.

These are used in the treatment or prophylaxis of clinically evident intravascular thrombosis. Special precaution should be exercised in obstetrical emergencies or massive liver failure.

Similar to unfractionated heparin, LMWHs are a class of anticoagulants termed glycosaminoglycans. LMWHs are derived from unfractionated heparin but have smaller, more standard average masses than does heterogeneous unfractionated heparin.

Unlike standard heparin, LMWHs have higher specificity for factor Xa and have fewer effects on platelet activity. As a result, LMWH may cause bleeding less often, while still retaining anticoagulant effects. LMWHs may be associated with less risk of heparin-induced osteoporosis.

Heparin

 

Heparin is indicated to decrease the risk of thrombosis and pregnancy loss in pregnant women with APS.

It augments the activity of antithrombin III and prevents the conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin. Heparin does not actively lyse but is able to inhibit further thrombogenesis. The drug prevents reaccumulation of clot after spontaneous fibrinolysis.

Enoxaparin (Lovenox)

 

Enoxaparin, an LMWH, is indicated to decrease the risk of thrombosis and pregnancy loss in pregnant women with APS. It prevents deep venous thrombosis (DVT), which may lead to pulmonary embolism in patients undergoing surgery who are at risk for thromboembolic complications. Enoxaparin enhances the inhibition of factor Xa and thrombin by increasing antithrombin III activity. In addition, it preferentially increases the inhibition of factor Xa.

Dalteparin (Fragmin)

 

Dalteparin is indicated for the prevention of DVT, which may lead to PE. It enhances the inhibition of factor Xa and thrombin by increasing antithrombin III activity. In addition, dalteparin preferentially increases the inhibition of factor Xa. The average duration of treatment is 7-14 days.

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Antiplatelet Agents, Hematologic

Class Summary

Randomized, controlled trials demonstrate improved fetal survival when pregnant women with APS and prior pregnancy losses are treated with low-dose aspirin plus heparin, compared with low-dose aspirin alone.

Aspirin (Ascriptin, Bayer Aspirin, Bayer Buffered Aspirin, Ibu, Advil, Motrin)

 

Aspirin's antiplatelet effect is indicated to decrease the risk of thrombosis and pregnancy loss in pregnant women with APS. It inhibits prostaglandin synthesis, preventing the formation of platelet-aggregating thromboxane A2. Aspirin is used in low dose to inhibit platelet aggregation and to improve complications of venous stasis and thrombosis.

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Contributor Information and Disclosures
Author

Teresa G Berg, MD, FACOG Associate Professor, Program Director, Director of the Perinatal Diagnostic Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Nebraska Medical Center

Teresa G Berg, MD, FACOG is a member of the following medical societies: American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Central Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Chief Editor

Thomas Chih Cheng Peng, MD Professor (Collateral), Department Obstetrics and Gynecology, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, VCU Health System

Thomas Chih Cheng Peng, MD is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Acknowledgements

Gregory Locksmith, MD Associate Director, Division of Gynecology, Department of Medical Education, Orlando Regional Health System

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Bruce A Meyer, MD, MBA Executive Vice President for Health System Affairs, Executive Director, Faculty Practice Plan, Interim CEO, University Hospitals; Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School

Bruce A Meyer, MD, MBA is a member of the following medical societies: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Physician Executives, American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Massachusetts Medical Society, Medical Group Management Association, and Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Bogdan Nowicki, MD, PhD Head of Infectious Disease Laboratory, Associate Professor, Departments of Microbiology and Immunology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Stella Nowicki, DDS Head of Infectious Diseases Laboratory, Associate Professor, Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Microbiology and Immunology, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Disclosure: Nothing to disclose.

Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Pharmacy; Editor-in-Chief, Medscape Drug Reference

Disclosure: Medscape Salary Employment

References
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  2. Alijotas-Reig J, Ferrer-Oliveras R, Ruffatti A, et al. The European Registry on Obstetric Antiphospholipid Syndrome (EUROAPS): A survey of 247 consecutive cases. Autoimmun Rev. 2015 May. 14(5):387-395. [Medline].

  3. Bouvier S, Cochery-Nouvellon E, Lavigne-Lissalde G, et al. Comparative incidence of pregnancy outcomes in treated obstetric antiphospholipid syndrome: the NOH-APS observational study. Blood. 2014 Jan 16. 123(3):404-13. [Medline].

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  6. Cowchock FS, Reece EA, Balaban D, Branch DW, Plouffe L. Repeated fetal losses associated with antiphospholipid antibodies: a collaborative randomized trial comparing prednisone with low-dose heparin treatment. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1992 May. 166(5):1318-23. [Medline].

  7. Wilson WA, Gharavi AE, Koike T, et al. International consensus statement on preliminary classification criteria for definite antiphospholipid syndrome: report of an international workshop. Arthritis Rheum. 1999 Jul. 42(7):1309-11. [Medline].

  8. [Guideline] Miyakis S, Lockshin MD, Atsumi T, et al. International consensus statement on an update of the classification criteria for definite antiphospholipid syndrome (APS). J Thromb Haemost. 2006 Feb. 4(2):295-306. [Medline].

  9. [Guideline] The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Antiphospholipid Syndrome. ACOG Practice Bulletin. January/2011. 118:1-8. [Full Text].

  10. Sciascia S, Murru V, Sanna G, Roccatello D, Khamashta MA, Bertolaccini ML. Clinical accuracy for diagnosis of antiphospholipid syndrome in systemic lupus erythematosus: evaluation of 23 possible combinations of antiphospholipid antibody specificities. J Thromb Haemost. 2012 Dec. 10(12):2512-8. [Medline].

 
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Table. Proposed Management for Women With aPL Antibodies
Feature Management
Pregnant Nonpregnant
APS with prior fetal death or recurrent pregnancy loss Heparin in prophylactic doses (15,000-20,000 U of unfractionated heparin or equivalent per day) administered subcutaneously in divided doses with low-dose aspirin daily



Calcium and vitamin D supplementation



Optimal management uncertain; options include no treatment or daily treatment with low-dose aspirin
APS with prior thrombosis or stroke Heparin to achieve full anticoagulation (does not cross the placenta) Warfarin administered daily in doses to maintain international normalized ratio of =3
APS without prior pregnancy loss or thrombosis No treatment or daily treatment with low-dose aspirin or daily treatment with prophylactic doses of heparin plus low-dose aspirin; optimal management uncertain No treatment or daily treatment with low-dose aspirin; optimal management uncertain
LGBSS High-dose IVIG at 400-1500 mg/kg/day for several days IVIG at 400-1500 mg/kg/d for several days
aPL Antibodies Without APS
LAC or medium to high level of aCL IgG No treatment No treatment
Low levels of aCL IgG, only aCL IgM, or only aCL IgA without LA, aPL, or aCL No treatment No treatment
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