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Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Thrombolytics for Heart Attack and Unstable Angina
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
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.footnote 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.
After a heart attack, thrombolytic medicines help to get blood flowing back to the heart.footnote 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.)
Thrombolytics are also used to treat blood clots that cause
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
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.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, ElectrophysiologySpecialist Medical ReviewerStephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
Current as ofFebruary 20, 2015
Current as of:
February 20, 2015
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
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