Alteplase, Recombinant (AL-te-plase, ree-KOM-bi-nant)
Dissolves blood clots and is used in treating a heart attack, stroke, or pulmonary embolism (a clot in the artery of the lungs).
There may be other brand names for this medicine.
Activase, Cathflo Activase
When This Medicine Should Not Be Used
Patients who have had an allergic reaction to alteplase should not receive this medicine. Because this medicine increases the risk of bleeding problems, some medical conditions may make using alteplase dangerous. These include any type of bleeding in your body (such as a bleeding ulcer), a brain tumor, a history of strokes, uncontrolled high blood pressure, a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia, recent (within the past 6 weeks) surgery or injury, or using a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin®).
How to Use This Medicine
- This medicine will be given to you while you are in the hospital. It is put directly into your body through one of your veins. This is called intravenous, or IV.
- You may also receive other medicines, such as aspirin and heparin, with alteplase. These medicines help prevent more clots from forming.
- Usually, you will get a dose of the medicine right away. Then, you will continue to get the medicine for about 1 to 3 hours, depending on the condition being treated.
- During this time, you will be watched closely to make sure the medicine is working and is not causing unwanted side effects.
Drugs and Foods to Avoid
Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you are using ticlopidine (Ticlid®), dipyridamole (Persantine®), warfarin (Coumadin®), heparin, or pain or arthritis medicines (such as aspirin, Motrin®, Advil®, or Aleve®).
Warnings While Using This Medicine
- Tell your doctor if you recently had a baby or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Make sure your doctor knows if you have had surgery or dental work recently, or stomach problems such as ulcers or colitis.
- Because of the way this medicine works, it may cause bleeding problems. Be extra careful to avoid injuries until the effects of the medicine have worn off. Do not get out of bed without help.
- Watch for any bleeding from open areas such around your IV. Also check for blood in your urine or bowel movements. If you have any bleeding or injuries, tell your doctor right away.
Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine
Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:
- Bloody urine
- Bloody or black tarry bowel movements
- Bloody vomit or vomit that looks like coffee grounds
- Coughing up blood
- Nosebleeds, bleeding from your gums, or any unexplained bruising or bleeding
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor: