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
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.
Hass EE, et al. (2011). ST-segmented elevation myocardial infarction. In V Fuster et al., eds., Hurst's the Heart, 13th ed., vol. 2, pp. 1354–1385. New York: McGraw-Hill.
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.