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Thrombolytics for Heart Attack and Unstable Angina


Examples

Generic NameBrand Name
alteplaseActivase, Retavase, Streptase, TNKase
reteplaseActivase, Retavase, Streptase, TNKase
streptokinaseActivase, Retavase, Streptase, TNKase
tenecteplaseActivase, Retavase, Streptase, TNKase

How It Works

Thrombolytics are used to treat some people who are having a heart attack. They are typically given in a vein (intravenously, or IV). These drugs dissolve or break up blood clots that are blocking blood flow through a coronary artery. Clots cause most heart attacks.

Why It Is Used

Thrombolytics are used in the hospital as soon as possible after a heart attack. They work best if they are given within 3 hours of a heart attack.1

Thrombolytics are not an option for everyone. They are not used if you have a high risk of having serious problems, such as severe bleeding.

How Well It Works

After a heart attack, thrombolytic medicines help to get blood flowing back to the heart.1

Side Effects

Thrombolytics are given in the hospital. So a person is watched closely for any side effects.

The most common side effect is bleeding inside the body.

Other side effects may include:

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

What To Think About

Thrombolytics are also used to treat blood clots that cause strokes.

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

References

Citations

  1. Yang EH, et al. (2008). ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction. In V Fuster et al., eds., Hurst's The Heart, 12th ed., pp. 1375–1404. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerStephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
Last RevisedApril 29, 2011

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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