Thrombolytic agent: A drug that is able to dissolve a clot (thrombus) and reopen an artery or vein. Thrombolytic agents may be used to treat a heart attack, stroke, deep vein thrombosis (clot in a deep leg vein), pulmonary embolism, and occlusion of a peripheral artery or indwelling catheter. All thrombolytic agents are serine proteases (they digest protein) and convert plasminogen to plasmin which breaks down the fibrinogen and fibrin and dissolves the clot. Currently available thrombolyic agents include reteplase (r-PA or Retavase), alteplase (t-PA or Activase), urokinase (Abbokinase), prourokinase, anisoylated purified streptokinase activator complex (APSAC), and streptokinase.
Also called clotbuster, clot-dissolving medication, fibrinolyic agent.