Thrombolytic medicines, such as streptokinase, urokinase, 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.
Research continues on the best use of thrombolytics to treat
pulmonary embolism. 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:
Severely blocking blood
Decreasing the heart's ability to pump
Causing very low blood pressure and shock.
These medicines are given through a vein in the hand or arm.
Occasionally it is necessary to insert a catheter and give the medicine
directly into the pulmonary artery. You must be hospitalized to receive
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.