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Keywords:

  • multiple myeloma;
  • thalidomide;
  • thromboprophylaxis;
  • venous thromboembolism

Abstract

Currently multiple antithrombotic agents are used for thalidomide thromboprophylaxis in multiple myeloma patients. Agents used include low-dose aspirin, fixed low-dose and therapeutic warfarin and prophylactic low molecular weight heparin. To evaluate the evidence for the efficacy and safety of aspirin, warfarin and low molecular weight heparin thromboprophylaxis in multiple myeloma patients on thalidomide a literature search was conducted in May and June 2011. Databases searched included the Cochrane Database of Systemic Reviews and the Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects, Evidence Based Medicine Reviews and Ovid MEDLINE. The search was restricted to English language articles and limited to articles published from 2005 to 2011. Most studies consisted of small prospective cohort studies not originally designed to assess thromboprophylaxis as an outcome. A single comparative randomized trial, several retrospective review articles, two meta-analyses and two clinical practice guidelines were also identified. Current evidence fails to demonstrate a clear advantage of any particular thromboprophylaxis strategy. Results from the only prospective comparative randomized trial found no significant differences among aspirin, warfarin and low molecular weight heparin. More studies are required that consider not only efficacy and safety, but also costs, lifestyle burden and patient preference.