Clot buster drugs, or thrombolytic therapy, are a type of heart medication given in the hospital through the veins (intravenous) to break up blood clots. Heart attack (caused by a blood clot in a coronary artery) and ischemic stroke (caused by a blood clot in an artery in the brain) are the two main conditions for which clot busters are used.
"I never thought it could happen to me."
That's how Rose Rench reacted when doctors told her she was having a heart
attack. At age 46, Rench was bewildered when she suddenly couldn't catch her
breath while out for a walk on a sunny spring day. "I was young, I was 130
pounds, and I'd quit smoking a month before. I was healthy. But I couldn't
Rench tells WebMD that she somehow drove herself home, but couldn't rest;
her mind raced as she tried to gasp for breath. "I thought maybe I...
To break up blood clots in other blood vessels in the body.
It is important to know the signs and symptoms of stroke and heart attack and call for emergency help (9-1-1 in most areas) right away if you or someone you are with is experiencing them. The faster you receive treatment with thrombolytic therapy (if appropriate), the quicker blood flow will be restored to the area and the greater the chance to prevent long-term damage, or even death.
There are several drugs that have been developed to break up clots, such as:
Tissue plasminogen activator (TPA)
Who Shouldn't Take Clot Busters?
Some people aren't able to take clot busters. Please tell your doctor if you have any of the following conditions:
Previous hemorrhagic stroke or bleeding in the brain
Recent trauma, falls, or blows to the head within the past 3 months
Active peptic ulcer
Should I Be Concerned About Food and Drug Interactions With Clot Busters?
Certain drugs may increase your risk of bleeding if you are prescribed clot busters. Tell your doctor the names of all the medications, over-the-counter drugs, herbal medications, supplements, or vitamins you are taking. Examples of these medications include: