Streptokinase - This drug is most effective when used as early as possible in the course of the disease process.
Alteplase, TPA - This drug is most effective when used as early as possible in the course of the disease process.
What are thrombolytic drugs?
These drugs dissolve blood clots in the body. They are often made from components similar to those the body produces. They are commonly used to dissolve clots in arteries and in veins. They may be used to prevent or to diminish the effect of a heart attack or to "open up" clotted arteries in the legs or arms. Occasionally, they are used for dissolving clots in arteries of the brain and lung.
Why are they given?
The doctor determines that the patient has a blood clot that may cause harm.
How long are they used?
Normally, only once. Some patients require a second dose of these medications or they can be given as a constant infusion.
Do they have side effects?
Side effects do occur and they may be minor or serious. For example, thrombolytics, as you would expect, make the body bleed more easily. Serious bleeding is the major concern when using these medications the doctors and nurses will watch the patient closely for signs of excessive bleeding. Also, some patients may have an allergic reaction to these medications.