Thrombolytic drug

Thrombolytic drug

Thrombolytic drugs are used in medicine to dissolve blood clots in a procedure termed thrombolysis. They limit the damage caused by the blockage of the blood vessel.



Thrombolysis is used in myocardial infarction (heart attack), thromboembolic strokes, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism to clear a blocked artery and avoid permanent damage to the perfused tissue (e.g. myocardium, brain, leg) and death. A less frequent use is to clear blocked catheters that are used in long-term medical therapy.

Thrombolytic therapy in hemorrhagic strokes is contraindicated, as its use in that situation would prolong bleeding into the intracranial space and cause further damage.

Condition Prothrombin time Partial thromboplastin time Bleeding time Platelet count
Vitamin K deficiency or warfarin prolonged normal or mildly prolonged unaffected unaffected
Disseminated intravascular coagulation prolonged prolonged prolonged decreased
von Willebrand disease unaffected prolonged prolonged unaffected
Hemophilia unaffected prolonged unaffected unaffected
Aspirin unaffected unaffected prolonged unaffected
Thrombocytopenia unaffected unaffected prolonged decreased
Liver failure, early prolonged unaffected unaffected unaffected
Liver failure, end-stage prolonged prolonged prolonged decreased
Uremia unaffected unaffected prolonged unaffected
Congenital afibrinogenemia prolonged prolonged prolonged unaffected
Factor V deficiency prolonged prolonged unaffected unaffected
Factor X deficiency as seen in amyloid purpura prolonged prolonged unaffected unaffected
Glanzmann's thrombasthenia unaffected unaffected prolonged unaffected
Bernard-Soulier syndrome unaffected unaffected prolonged decreased or unaffected


The thrombolytic drugs include:

These drugs are most effective if administered immediately after it has been determined they are clinically appropriate. The advantage of administration is highest within the first sixty minutes, but may extend up to six hours after the start of symptoms.

The drugs are often given in combination with intravenous heparin, or low molecular weight heparin, which are anticoagulant drugs.


Hemorrhagic stroke is a rare but serious complication of thrombolytic therapy. If a patient has had thrombolysis before, an allergy against the thrombolytic drug may have developed (especially after streptokinase). If the symptoms are mild, the infusion is stopped and the patient is commenced on an antihistamine before infusion is recommenced. Anaphylaxis generally requires immediate cessation of thrombolysis.

See also


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