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Generic name: reteplase [ RE-te-plase ]
Brand name: Retavase
Dosage form: intravenous kit (10 units)
Drug class: Thrombolytics

Medically reviewed by on Mar 18, 2024. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is reteplase?

Reteplase is a thrombolytic (THROM-bo-LIT-ik) drug, sometimes called a "clot-busting" drug. It helps your body produce a substance that dissolves unwanted blood clots.

Reteplase is used to improve heart function and prevent congestive heart failure or death in people who have had a heart attack (acute myocardial infarction).

Reteplase may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Reteplase side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives, rash, itching, skin redness; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Reteplase increases your risk of bleeding, which can be severe or life-threatening. Call your doctor or seek emergency medical attention if you have bleeding that will not stop. Bleeding may occur from a surgical incision, or from the skin where a needle was inserted during a blood test or while receiving injectable medication. You may also have bleeding on the inside of your body, such as in your stomach or intestines, kidneys or bladder, brain, or within the muscles.

Call your doctor at once if you have signs of bleeding inside your body, such as:

Also call your doctor at once if you have:

Common side effects may include nausea.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


If possible before you receive reteplase, tell your doctor if you have a brain tumor or aneurysm, high blood pressure, hemophilia or other bleeding disorder, a history of stroke, or if you have recently had a head injury or surgery on your brain or spinal cord.

Before taking this medicine

You should not be treated with reteplase if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

If possible before you receive reteplase, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

In an emergency, you may not be able to tell caregivers about your health conditions. Make sure any doctor caring for you afterward knows you received reteplase.

If possible before you receive reteplase, tell your caregivers if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Make sure any doctor caring for your pregnancy or your baby knows you received this medicine.

How is reteplase given?

Reteplase is given as an infusion into a vein. A healthcare provider will give you this injection.

Reteplase is usually given in two injections 30 minutes apart.

This medicine can affect the results of certain medical tests. Tell any doctor who treats you that you are using reteplase.

Reteplase dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Myocardial Infarction:

10 units administered over 2 minutes as an IV bolus as soon as possible after the onset of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) symptoms, followed 30 minutes later by a second 10 unit IV bolus injection also administered over 2 minutes.

If serious bleeding (not controllable by local pressure) occurs before the administration of the second bolus, terminate any concomitant anticoagulant therapy and do not administer the second reteplase bolus.

Half dose reteplase (5 units) has been used in the GUSTO V trial in combination with abciximab.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Because you will receive reteplase in a clinical setting, you are not likely to miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Since this medication is given by a healthcare professional in a medical setting, an overdose is unlikely to occur.

What should I avoid after receiving reteplase?

Ask your doctor before taking aspirin or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) shortly after you have received reteplase. These medications can increase your risk of bleeding.

Avoid activities that may increase your risk of bleeding or injury. Use extra care to prevent bleeding while shaving or brushing your teeth.

What other drugs will affect reteplase?

Tell your doctor about all your other medicines, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect reteplase, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Popular FAQ

Yes, Activase is the same as tPA but technically tPA is an abbreviation for tissue plasminogen activator which is the drug class that encompasses all tissue plasminogen activators, of which there are 3 that have been FDA approved in the United States, namely Activase (generic name alteplase), Retavase (generic name reteplase), TNKase (generic name Tenecteplase). Sometimes healthcare professionals use "tPA" to refer to Activase because it was the first tissue plasminogen activator that was approved. But errors may arise because staff get confused between the abbreviation TNK and tPA, which has resulted in TNKase being given to a stroke patient instead of the intended Activase (TNKase is not approved for stroke patients).

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Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.