Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors for heart attack and unstable angina


Generic Name Brand Name
abciximab ReoPro
eptifibatide Integrilin
tirofiban Aggrastat

How It Works

These medicines prevent the formation of blood clots.

Why It Is Used

Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors are typically used along with angioplasty, stenting, or atherectomy procedures. Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors help prevent reclosure of the blood vessel (restenosis) after these procedures. These medicines are often used along with aspirin and heparin.

How Well It Works

Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors may reduce the chance of a heart attack when used after angioplasty with stenting and in people who have unstable angina. Although these medicines appear to be useful when given immediately after angioplasty and stenting, long-term use has not proved beneficial.

Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors may lower the risk of death in people who have angioplasty after a heart attack.1

Side Effects

Some side effects of these medicines may include:

  • Increased bleeding (hemorrhage) in the brain, stomach, intestines, or other internal organs.
  • Increased bruising.
  • Stomach irritation.
  • Allergic reaction.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors are only used in the hospital, such as before or after an angioplasty.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.



  1. De Luca G, et al. (2005). Abciximab as adjunctive therapy to reperfusion in acute ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction: A meta-analysis of randomized trials. JAMA, 293(14): 1759–1765.

Last Updated: May 5, 2009

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