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- What is alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
- What are the uses for alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
- What are the side effects of alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
- What is the dosage for alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
- Is alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase) safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
What is alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
Alteplase is an injectable drug, given directly into a vein, that is used to treat conditions caused by arterial blood clots including heart attacks, strokes, chest pain at rest (unstable angina), blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary thrombosis or embolus), and other less common conditions involving blood clots.
What brand names are available for alteplase?
TPA, Activase, and Cathflo Activase are brand names available for alteplase.
Is alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase) available as a generic drug?
Do I need a prescription for alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
What are the uses for alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
- Alteplase is used to treat persons with heart attacks (acute myocardial infarctions), strokes, chest pain at rest (unstable angina), blood clots in the lungs (pulmonary thrombosis or embolism), and other less common conditions involving blood clots.
- It also is used for clearing blood clots from blocked venous catheters.
What are the side effects of alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
The most common and serious side effect of alteplase is bleeding. Minor bleeding is more common, but significant bleeding such as into the brain (intracranial hemorrhage) or fatal bleeding also occurs.
Other important side effects include:
Other possible serious side effects include:
What is the dosage for alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
- Clogged catheter: Alteplase is injected intravenously or directly into a clogged catheter.
- Heart attack: For heart attacks the recommended dose is a 15 mg injection followed by 50 mg or 0.75 mg/kg (up to 50 mg) infused over 30 minutes then 35 mg or 0.5 mg/kg (up to 35 mg) over 60 minutes. The total dose is 100 mg. It also can be infused over 3 hours.
- Pulmonary embolism: The dose for treating pulmonary embolism is 100 mg infused over 2 hours.
- Stroke: The dose for treating acute ischemic stroke is 0.9 mg/kg infused over one hour not to exceed 90 mg. Clogged catheters are cleared by injecting 2 mg/2 ml solution into the clogged catheter.
Which drugs or supplements interact with alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
Alteplase breaks down clots and thereby interferes with the body's ability to stop bleeding. Therefore, drugs which also interfere with the body's ability to form blood clots (or the clot-promoting effects of platelets) increase the risk of bleeding in patients receiving alteplase. Such drugs include
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Is alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase) safe to use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
What else should I know about alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase)?
What preparations of alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase) are available?
Powder is mixed with sterile water for injection: 2, 50, and 100 mg vials.
How should I keep alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase) stored?
- The vials are stored at room temperature up to 80 F (30 C) or under refrigeration at 2-8 C (36-46 F).
- Once mixed with sterile water, it must be used immediately.
- Any drug not used must be thrown away.
How does alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase) work?
- Alteplase is an enzyme that occurs naturally in man and causes blood clots to dissolve. It is a man-made protein manufactured by recombinant DNA technology. The naturally occurring protein, known as tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), is made by ovarian cells from the Chinese hamster. The amount that is given to patients is far greater than the amount naturally made by the body itself.
When was alteplase (TPA, Activase, Cathflo Activase) approved by the FDA?
- Alteplase was first approved for heart attacks in 1987. In 1996, it was approved for strokes.
IMAGESBrowse through our medical image collection to see illustrations of human anatomy and physiology See Images
Alteplase (Activase; Cathflo Activase; TPA) is a drug prescribed to treat conditions caused by arterial blood clots such as heart attacks, strokes, chest pain from unstable angina, and pulmonary embolism. Review side effects, drug interactions, dosage, and pregnancy safety information prior to taking this medication.
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How the Heart Works: Sides, Chambers, and Function
The heart is a very important organ in the body. It is responsible for continuously pumping oxygen and nutrient-rich blood throughout your body to sustain life. It is a fist-sized muscle that beats (expands and contracts) 100,000 times per day, pumping a total of five or six quarts of blood each minute, or about 2,000 gallons per day.
A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot (ischemic) or bleeding (hemorrhagic). Symptoms of a stroke may include: weakness, numbness, double vision or vision loss, confusion, vertigo, difficulty speaking or understanding speech. A physical exam, imaging tests, neurological exam, and blood tests may be used to diagnose a stroke. Treatment may include administration of clot-busting drugs, supportive care, and in some instances, neurosurgery. The risk of stroke can be reduced by controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and stopping smoking.
Heart Attack Symptoms and Early Warning Signs
Recognizing heart attack symptoms and signs can help save your life or that of someone you love. Some heart attack symptoms, including left arm pain and chest pain, are well known but other, more nonspecific symptoms may be associated with a heart attack. Nausea, vomiting, malaise, indigestion, sweating, shortness of breath, and fatigue may signal a heart attack. Heart attack symptoms and signs in women may differ from those in men.
Blood Clots (in the Leg)
Blood clots can occur in the venous and arterial vascular system. Blood clots can form in the heart, legs, arteries, veins, bladder, urinary tract and uterus. Risk factors for causes of blood clots include high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and family history. Symptoms of a blood clot depend on the location of the clot. Some blood clots are a medical emergency. Blood clots are treated depending upon the cause of the clot. Blood clots can be prevented by lowering the risk factors for developing blood clots.
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Pulmonary Embolism (Blood Clot in the Lung)
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Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)
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Early Warning Signs and Symptoms of Stroke (FAST)
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Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA, Mini-Stroke)
When a portion of the brain loses blood supply, through a blood clot or embolus, a transient ischemic attack (TIA, mini-stroke) may occur. If the symptoms do not resolve, a stroke most likely has occurred. Symptoms of TIA include: confusion, weakness, lethargy, and loss of function to one side of the body. Risk factors for TIA include vascular disease, smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Treatment depends upon the severity of the TIA, and whether it resolves.
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Migraine and Stroke
Migraine headache is a type of headache in which the exact cause is not known; however, they may be inherited, and certain foods and environmental factors can trigger and may contribute them. A stroke (brain attack) happens when a blood vessel in the brain leaks, bursts, or becomes blocked, which can be caused by many other health problems. Both migraines and strokes can can cause severe head pain (migraine pain usually is only on one side of the head). Migraine aura symptoms may mimic or feel like a stroke or mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack, TIA) because they have similar symptoms and signs like severe headache, numbness in the legs, feet, arms, hands, or face, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. Other migraine aura symptoms include vision problems like flashing lights or blind spots in one eye. The main difference between migraine headache and stroke symptoms and signs is that a migraine headaches usually come on gradually while a stroke symptoms come on suddenly and unexpectedly.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
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Superior Vena Cava Syndrome
Superior vena cava syndrome is compression of the superior vena cava vein located in the upper chest. Causes of superior vena cava include lung cancer, lymphoma, other cancers in the chest, blood clots in the superior vena cava, or infection. Symptoms of the syndrome include shortness of breath. Superior vena cava syndrome is diagnosed by ultrasound, chest X-ray, CT scan, and in some cases biopsy. Treatment depends upon the cause of the syndrome.
Heart Attacks in Women
Heart disease, particularly coronary artery disease is the leading cause of heart attacks. Women are more likely to die from a heart attack than men. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and high triglycerides are contributors to heart disease. Some of the common symptoms of a heart attack in women include chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, feeling faint or woozy, and more. Heart disease can be prevented by lifestyle changes and controlling high blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, and diseases such as diabetes.
Heart Attack Treatment
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Stress and Heart Disease
The connection between stress and heart disease is not clear. Stress itself may be a risk factor, or high levels of stress may make risk factors for heart disease worse. The warning signs of stress can be physical, mental, emotional, or behavioral. Reducing stressors in an individuals life not only can lead to a more productive life, but may also decrease the risk for heart disease and causes of heart disease.
Heart Attack Pathology: Photo Essay
A heart attack is a layperson's term for a sudden blockage of a coronary artery. This photo essay includes graphics, pictures, and illustrations of diseased heart tissue and the mechanisms that lead to coronary artery disease, and possible heart attack. A coronary artery occlusion may be fatal, but most patients survive it. Death can occur when the occlusion leads to an abnormal heartbeat (severe arrhythmia) or death of heart muscle (extensive myocardial infarction).
Heart Disease in Women
Heart disease in women has somewhat different symptoms, risk factors, and treatment compared to heart disease in men. Many women and health professionals are not aware of the risk factors for heart disease in women and may delay diagnosis and treatment. Lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, tobacco use, overweight/obesity, stress, alcohol consumption, and depression influence heart disease risk in women. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes also increase women's risk of heart disease. Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG), stress-ECG, endothelial testing, ankle-brachial index (ABI), echocardiogram, nuclear imaging, electron beam CT, and lab tests to assess blood lipids and biomarkers of inflammation are used to diagnose heart disease. Early diagnosis and treatment of heart disease in women saves lives. Heart disease can be prevented and reversed with lifestyle changes.
Heart Attack Prevention
Heart disease and heart attacks can be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle with diet, exercise, and stress management. Symptoms of heart attack in men and women include chest discomfort and pain in the shoulder, neck, jaw, stomach, or back.
Heart Disease Treatment in Women
Heart disease treatment in women should take into account female-specific guidelines that were developed by the American Heart Association. Risk factors and symptoms of heart disease in women differ from those in men. Treatment may include lifestyle modification (diet, exercise, weight management, smoking cessation, stress reduction), medications, percutaneous intervention procedure (PCI), and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Heart disease is reversible with treatment.
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Vitamins and exercise can lower your risk for heart attack and heart disease. Folic acid, vitamins, and homocysteine levels are interconnected and affect your risk for heart disease or heart attack. For better heart health, avoid the following fried foods, hard margarine, commercial baked goods, most packaged and processed snack foods, high fat dairy, and processed meats such as bacon, sausage, and deli meats.
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