An analysis of risks and benefits is an important component of patient care. Drotrecogin alfa (activated), the first approved cogin (a class of recombinant human coagulation inhibitors), provides a clear example of a treatment that requires a careful risk-benefit analysis. Treatment with this novel compound has been shown to reduce significantly the risk of death in patients with sepsis and acute organ dysfunction (severe sepsis). However, the drug is a natural antithrombotic that can increase the risk of bleeding in recipients. We will discuss bleeding and other potential risks associated with drotrecogin alfa (activated) treatment, as well as the survival benefits seen with the use of this therapy in patients with severe sepsis.
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