What is alteplase used for?
- Alteplase is used to treat blood clots that have caused certain health problems like some types of heart attacks or strokes.
- Alteplase may be given to you for other reasons. Talk to your doctor.
Before taking alteplase, tell your doctor:
- If you are allergic to alteplase; any part of this medicine; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- If you have any of these health problems: Aneurysm, arteriovenous malformations, bleeding problems like bleeding in the brain, brain tumor, or high blood pressure.
- If you have had any of these health problems: Stroke; injury to the head, brain, or spine; or surgery on the brain or spine.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with alteplase.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take alteplase with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take alteplase?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take alteplase. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
- Very bad and sometimes deadly allergic side effects have rarely happened. Talk with your doctor.
- Severe and sometimes deadly bleeding problems have happened with alteplase.
- You may bleed more easily. Be careful and avoid injury. Use a soft toothbrush and an electric razor.
- Use care to prevent injury and avoid falls or crashes.
- This medicine may affect certain lab tests. Tell all of your health care providers and lab workers that you take alteplase.
- People with certain heart problems who use alteplase to treat a blood clot in the lung may have a raised chance of another blood clot. If you have questions about whether you may have a raised chance of another blood clot, talk with your doctor.
- If you are 75 or older, use alteplase with care. You could have more side effects.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan on getting pregnant, or are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks to you and the baby.
How is alteplase best taken?
Use alteplase as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- It is given as a shot into a vein.
- It is given as an infusion into a vein over a period of time.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- This medicine will be given on an as needed basis in a healthcare setting.
What are the side effects of alteplase that I need to call my doctor about immediately?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
- Signs of bleeding like throwing up or coughing up blood; vomit that looks like coffee grounds; blood in the urine; black, red, or tarry stools; bleeding from the gums; abnormal vaginal bleeding; bruises without a cause or that get bigger; or bleeding you cannot stop.
- Weakness on 1 side of the body, trouble speaking or thinking, change in balance, drooping on one side of the face, or blurred eyesight.
- Very bad headache.
- Very bad belly pain.
- Rarely, a health problem called cholesterol embolism has happened with drugs like this one. This problem has also happened with some blood vessel procedures. Sometimes, this can be deadly. Call your doctor right away if you have a change in color of the skin to bluish, black, or purple. Call your doctor right away if you have a change in how much urine is passed; severe headache or dizziness; passing out; chest pain or pressure; change in eyesight; muscle pain or dark urine; or severe stomach pain, back pain, upset stomach, or throwing up.
What are some other side effects of alteplase?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if you have any side effects that bother you or do not go away.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-332-1088. You may also report side effects at https://www.fda.gov/medwatch.
If overdose is suspected:
If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
How do I store and/or throw out alteplase?
- If you need to store alteplase at home, talk with your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist about how to store it.
Consumer information use and disclaimer
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
- Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.
- Some drugs may have another patient information leaflet. Check with your pharmacist. If you have any questions about alteplase, please talk with your doctor, nurse, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
- If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.
This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take alteplase or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. 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 alteplase. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.