Clot-Busting Drug Remains Most Beneficial Emergency Treatment For Strokes

Loyola University Health System

The clot-busting drug rt-PA remains the most beneficial proven emergency treatment for strokes caused by blood clots, according to an editorial in the November issue of Archives of Neurology by Dr. Jos- Biller.

"The benefits of treatment outweigh the risks in patients treated with intravenous rt-PA within 4.5 hours of symptom onset," Biller wrote. Biller is chairman of the Department of Neurology at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and an internationally recognized expert on stroke care.

Most strokes are ischemic, meaning they are caused by blood clots that block blood flow in the brain. Brain cells begin dying when they are starved of blood supply. But if administered soon enough, an IV drug known as recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) can dissolve clots, restore blood flow and limit damage.

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