Thrombolytic medicines, such as streptokinase or
tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA), interfere with the action of
thrombin, which is needed to form blood clots. These medicines help to dissolve
blood clots and may be used to treat
pulmonary embolism in life-threatening situations.
All thrombolytics can cause serious bleeding. Bleeding
inside the brain is a particular danger that can cause a stroke or death. In
general, thrombolytics are used only where the risk of bleeding can be balanced
against the risks of not dissolving the blood clot rapidly. Thrombolytics might be used when you have a large blood clot that is:
Doctors have several ways to treat a deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The most common treatment is a drug called a blood thinner. Blood thinners are also called anticoagulants.
These drugs stop the clot from getting bigger. They also help prevent it from breaking off and moving to the lungs. And they prevent other clots from forming.
Blood thinners don’t break down the clot itself. The body does that over time.
These medicines are given through a vein in the hand or arm.
Sometimes it is necessary to insert a catheter and give the medicine
directly into the pulmonary artery. You must be hospitalized to receive
In this article
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
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