MED REVIEW MONDAY: Streptokinase (aka Streptase)
What is it? A thrombolytic drug (it breaks up clots) administered intravenously
How does it work? Plasmin is a blood component that normally acts to break fibrin bonds after a regular blood clot has completed its job in stopping a bleed. Streptokinase increases the production of plasmin so that “bad” clots break up.
When is it used? During an MI to break up blockages in the heart and prevent damage to the muscle tissue, during a pulmonary embolism to break up a clot in the lungs, during an ischemic stroke but NEVER hemorrhagic
What do I need to know about it? Because it’s made from a bacteria material, we develop resistance to it and can have a severe (even anaphylactic) allergic reaction the second time the drug is given. Therefore, it is only indicated during a patient’s first heart attack. TPA is used instead if there is a future need. Do not administer concurrently with an anticoagulant or aspirin. Thrombin time is monitored during use. Heparin therapy should follow the use of Streptokinase.