Thrombolytics are medicines that rapidly dissolve a blood clot. They are used when a blood clot causes an emergency, such as a heart attack or stroke. These clot-busting medicines help blood to flow normally again.
Thrombolytics are used as soon as possible after a heart attack or stroke. These medicines are used in the hospital. They are typically given through a vein in the hand or arm. One example of this medicine is tissue plasminogen activator (TPA).
These medicines can greatly increase the risk of bleeding, so they are used only in very specific situations where the risk of bleeding can be balanced against the risks of not dissolving the blood clot rapidly.
Other Works Consulted
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Current as of: December 16, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
Jeffrey S. Ginsberg, MD, FRCPC - Hematology