Generic Name: alteplase (AL-teh-PLACE)
Brand Name: Activase
Alteplase is used for:
Treating blood clots in the lungs. It is also used to improve heart function and survival following a heart attack. It is also used to improve recovery and reduce disability in certain patients who have had a stroke. It may also be used for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
Alteplase is a tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). It works by helping to break down unwanted blood clots.
Do NOT use alteplase if:
- you are allergic to any ingredient in alteplase
- you have active internal bleeding, history of stroke, recent brain or spinal surgery (within 3 months), a growth in the brain, abnormal formation of blood vessels, or a certain type of bulging blood vessel (aneurysm)
- you have a heart attack or blood clot in the lung and you also have had recent brain or spinal injury, a history of bleeding problems, or severe uncontrolled high blood pressure
- you have a stroke and you also have known or suspected bleeding in the head or brain, a history of bleeding in the brain, a recent serious head injury, uncontrolled high blood pressure, low platelet count, high international normalized ratio (INR) or prothrombin time, or a history of bleeding problems, or if you had a seizure at the onset of the stroke
- you have a stroke and you are taking warfarin, or you have used heparin within the past 48 hours and you currently have a high activated partial thromboplastin time
Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.
Before using alteplase:
Some medical conditions may interact with alteplase. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:
- if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
- if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
- if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
- if you have had a recent surgery or procedure or if you have recently had a baby
- if you have a disease of the blood vessels in your brain; recent bleeding of the stomach, bowel, genitals, or urinary tract; a recent injury; high blood pressure; inflammation around the heart; inflammation inside the heart due to an infection; blood problems, including blood clotting problems; liver or kidney problems; bleeding in the eye due to diabetes or other problems; a serious infection; or blood vessel inflammation
- if you have an increased risk of a blood clot in your heart
Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with alteplase. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any of the following medicines.
- Abciximab, anticoagulants (eg, warfarin, heparin), antiplatelet medicine (eg, clopidogrel), aspirin, or dipyridamole because the risk of bleeding may be increased
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (eg, lisinopril) because the risk of serious side effects, such as severe swelling or trouble breathing, may be increased
- Nitrates (eg, nitroglycerin, isosorbide dinitrate) because the effectiveness of alteplase may be decreased
This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if alteplase may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.
How to use alteplase:
Use alteplase as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.
- Alteplase is given as an injection at your doctor's office, hospital, or clinic.
- If you miss a dose of alteplase, contact your doctor right away.
Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use alteplase.
Important safety information:
- Tell your doctor or dentist that you take alteplase before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
- Serious and sometimes fatal bleeding problems have happened with alteplase. Discuss any questions or concerns with your doctor.
- You may bleed more easily. Avoid activities that may cause bruising or injury. Tell your doctor if you have unusual bruising or bleeding. Tell your doctor if you have dark, tarry, or bloody stools.
- Lab tests may be performed while you use alteplase. These tests may be used to monitor your condition or check for side effects. Be sure to keep all doctor and lab appointments.
- Use alteplase with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
- PREGNANCY AND BREAST-FEEDING: If you become pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using alteplase while you are pregnant. It is not known if this medicine is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use alteplase, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.
Possible side effects of alteplase:
All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. No COMMON side effects have been reported with alteplase. Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:
Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing or swallowing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, throat, or tongue); change in color of your fingers or toes; changes in vision; chest pain or pressure; confusion; fainting; one-sided weakness; purple skin color; severe dizziness or headache; severe muscle aches or pain; severe stomach pain; speech problems or changes; symptoms of bleeding (eg, vomiting blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds; coughing up blood; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; unusual vaginal bleeding; bruises without a reason or that get bigger; any bleeding that is severe or that you cannot stop); symptoms of kidney problems (eg, not able to pass urine, change in how much urine is passed, blood in the urine, a big weight gain); symptoms of pancreatitis (eg, severe stomach or back pain, with or without nausea or vomiting).
This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately.Proper storage of alteplase:
Alteplase is handled and stored by a health care provider. You will not store it at home. Keep all medicines out of the reach of children and away from pets.
- If you have any questions about alteplase, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- Alteplase is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
- If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
- Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take alteplase or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about alteplase. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to alteplase. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using alteplase.
Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.