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From: Marilyn Walter
Fremont, California

           Fibrinolytic Therapy: What You Should Really Know ;

Fibrinolytic therapy is a crucial medical treatment that makes use of certain special drugs that will work in the body to break down the blood clots blocking the major arteries. Health care professionals termed these highly valuable drugs sometimes as “clot busters” due to their ability to eliminate blood clotting. When heart attack occurs, these fibrinolytic agents or drugs can be used to save one’s life. 

Critical Information and its Benefit 

More often than not, heart attack, medically known as myocardial infarction, can happen when plaque or blood clot builds up in the body’s major artery, which is responsible for transporting blood into the heart. When plaque accumulates in the body’s vital artery, it blocks the blood from entering the vital organ causing it to function abnormally. 

Once blood flow stopped in a particular area of the human heart, that critical area will begin to die immediately. This threatening medical condition is known as ischemia. If an individual suffers from ischemic heart, there is a possibility that the sufferer can experience abnormal or irregular heart rhythms and this can result to unexpected fainting. 

In worst cases, this health complication can even lead to sudden death. On the other hand, if the clot blocks the supply of oxygenated blood in the brain, this can lead to stroke, which may impair any part of the body for a considerable amount of time.

If fibrinolytic drugs are administered in no longer than 12 hours, the better outcome it would be for the victim of heart attack. However, if the fibrinolytic agents are administered after the best time possible, the patient can have a lesser survival rate. This is the cogent reason why it is very important for the patient to seek immediate medical assistance soon after the symptoms become apparent. 

The effectiveness of fibrinolytic therapy depends greatly on the clot age or how long the clot in the artery is present. The longer the arterial clot is in the body, there will be more fibrin that is produced. Fibrin is the protein located in the blood which contributes to blood clotting. If the clot in the major artery contains lots of fibrin, it will be very difficult to dissolve. With this, a stronger fibrinolytic drug is needed so as to effectively break the clot. 

There are many different types of drugs used in treating myocardial infarction. The 1st generation fibrinolytic drug that is no longer used in treating heart attack is Streptokinase due to its disturbing side effects. Patients taking this drug have a higher risk from suffering bleeding and it can also worsen bleeding disorders. 

Health care professionals discovered that patients who used this drug acquired antibodies which totally prevent them from using it again. Certain allergic reactions as well as extremely low BP or blood pressure are other adverse health effects that an individual may experience from taking Streptokinase. 

Since then, medical professionals highly recommend the use of 3rd generation fibrinolytic drugs in treating myocardial infarction. These agents are much easier and safer to use as compared to traditional drugs. The two most frequently used 3rd generation agents are Tenecteplase and Reteplase. These special drugs are much more effective in fighting fibrin than older drugs like Streptokinase.

Bear in mind that this treatment is not risk free. All medications used in fibrinolytic therapy have a higher risk of causing bleeding. By this, it is very important that you should only take the drug under the guidance of a health care professional. 

All Fibrinolytic Drugs 

Fibrinolytic agents include alteplase (Activase), streptokinase (Kabikanase, Streptase), anistreplase (Eminase), tissue plasminogen acitivator (TPA) and urokinase (Abbokinase). These fibrinolytic medications are administered in the form of injections and only given under the supervision of a medical professional. 

Recommended Dosage 

A health care professional supervising fibrinolytic therapy will be the one who will decide on the dosage that the patient will take. The doctor will have to consider the right drug that you are going to use, the purpose why it is being used as well as the body weight of the patient. Since there is no exact dosage, follow the recommendation of your doctor strictly. 


For fibrinolytic therapy to be very effective in treating heart attack or stroke, immediate medical treatment is extremely important. The medication must be taken in less than 12 hours but it would be better if it will be administered short after the symptoms of heart attack appear. 

Positive outcomes may happen if it is treated as early as possible. So to increase your chances of surviving the attack, once you notice the signs of stroke as well as heart attack, act right away and seek medical attention immediately. 

Fibrinolytic therapy can cause varying severity f bleeding in certain parts of the human body. This adverse health effect is not usually serious but there are times that the bleeding becomes severe for some patients, particularly with older people. 

There are also some patients who have less serious hemorrhagic strokes where in there is a small bleeding in the brain. Hemorrhagic stroke is caused by blood clots which will break up if fibrinolytic drugs are used. 

The removal of life threatening clot through the use of these drugs may cause bleeding same as well with hemorrhagic stroke. To lower your risk from experiencing severe bleeding, it is best for you to move around little by little but if your doctor does not allow you to do so then don’t even try doing it. During this time, follow all the recommendations of your doctor properly and strictly so as to ensure your safety. 


It is more like for fibrinolytic therapy to cause severe bleeding in patients who are currently suffering from the medical conditions listed below or recently had surgical procedures. Before taking the drug, inform your doctor about these things. 

• Blood disease 

• Bleeding problems before in one or more parts of your body 

• Blood vessel or heart disease

• Hypertension or HBP 

• Stroke 

• Colitis or stomach ulcer 

• Active tuberculosis

• Brain tumor as well as other brain disorders 

• Liver disease (severe)

• Ongoing injuries or bruises 

• Recent surgery – any surgical procedure including a dental surgery 

• Recent injections in your blood vessel 

• Had given birth recently

Furthermore, people who suffered recently from streptococcal or strep infection should tell it to their doctor so as determine the right drug to use. Some fibrinolytic agents may be less effective in those patients who had strep infection.

Pregnant or lactating women should consult first a health care professional before using any medications for fibrinolytic therapy. It is highly recommended for those patients who are pregnant to avoid the use of any fibrinolytic agents so as ensure the safety of their baby. If a certain medication is taken for the first 5 months in times of pregnancy, you will have a higher risk of miscarriage.

After going through fibrinolytic therapy, women who are currently breastfeeding should visit a medical professional and have a checkup before going to start breastfeeding again. 

Side Effects

Patients who are treated using fibrinolytic therapy should be very cautious after the procedure. If you feel any unusual reactions or something disturbing in your body, call your doctor right away. 

• Bloody urine 

• Constipation 

• Coughing with blood 

• Nosebleeds

• Vomiting with blood 

• Dizziness 

• Excessive vaginal bleeding 

• Severe, sudden or persistent headache

• Back pain 

• Abdominal swelling 

• Abdominal pain 

• Stomach pain 

• Swelling of the stomach 

• Severe or chronic muscle pain 

• Painful, stiff or swollen joints 

Other adverse health effects from the use of fibrinolytic drugs are possible. If you experience something not present from the list above, seek medical attention immediately. Do not ignore if you notice something unusual as it might be a side effect of the medication that you used to treat your condition. 

Drug Interactions 

Patients who are taking certain medications may have a higher risk from experiencing severe bleeding after receiving fibrinolytic therapy. Inform your personal doctor immediately if you’re using one or more of these prescription and non prescription medications.

• Aspirin 

• Medications designed for treating inflammation and pain 

• Antiseizure medicines, particularly valproic acid (Depakene) and divalproex (Depakote)

• Blood thinners or anticoagulants 

• Cephalosporins, particularly cefoperazone (Cefobid), cefotetan (Cefotan) and cefamandole (Mandol) 

What to Avoid 

Patients using fibrinolytic agents must avoid taking high amounts of E vitamin since it increases the risk of hemorrhagic stroke to occur. It is also highly recommended to avoid the use of feverfew, angelica, borage, ginger, dong quia as well as other herbs that have the ability to intensify the drugs’ anti-clotting effect and worsen bleeding. 

Additional Information

For you to determine that you’re having heart attack, it is best that you should know its symptoms so you can treat it immediately. If you experience one or more of these symptoms, dial 911 right away or call your doctor as early as possible. 

Heart Attack Symptoms 

Chest discomfort - occurs mostly at the middle chest 

• Chest squeezing 

• Disturbing chest pressure 

• Chest pain 

• Chest fullness 

Upper body 

• Pain spreading to the body’s left arm 

• Discomfort in left arm, right arm or both 

• Back pain 

• Back discomfort 

• Stomach discomfort 

• Jaw discomfort 

• Back discomfort 

Actual symptoms of cardiac arrest 

• Sudden unconsciousness 

• Pallor 

• Dilated pupils 

• Cyanosis

• Absent pulse

Other possible signs 

• Shallow breathing or breathing difficulty 

• Cold sweat 

• Sweating 

• Vomiting 

• Anxiety 

• Nausea 

• Fainting

• Tiredness

• Paleness 

• Light-headedness

• Extreme fatigue 

• Panic 

• Dyspnea

• Palpitations

• Diaphoresis 

• Upset stomach

             Please do no hesitate to contact me at if you have any question


             Marilyn Walter

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