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Thrombolytics

Thrombolytic drugs (‘clotbusters')


These drugs are used only by doctors when there is an urgent need to dissolve a clot. This is normally following a heart attack. The sooner they are given after the start of the heart attack, the better. Examples of thrombolytic drugs include streptokinase, alteplase and tenecteplase. They can either be given as a single dose or diluted in a drip. Thrombolytic drugs may cause serious bleeding so, before you are given the drug, the doctor or nurse will assess whether it is suitable for you and whether you have a high risk of bleeding. For example, you would not be given a thrombolytic drug if you had recently had surgery or a stroke.

If you receive thrombolytic drugs, you should be given a card to carry with you, describing the type of thrombolytic drug given and when it was given. If the thrombolytic was streptokinase or anistreplase, you should not have another dose of it. If you have another heart attack, a different thrombolytic drug can be given.