Boston, MA -- More and more heart attack patients are getting thrombolytic therapy as a result of studies showing the clot-busting drugs can reduce the risk of dying. But a new study led by Harvard Medical School researchers adds to the growing body of evidence that thrombolytic drugs may increase the overall risk of death for some patients, particularly the oldest and those with certain medical conditions or histories. The results suggest that national guidelines on the use of these drugsζsuch as streptokinase and tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA)ζshould be applied with greater selectivity, and possibly revised, to maximize benefit and minimize risk due to bleeding or stroke, said lead author Stephen Soumerai, professor of ambulatory care and prevention at Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Co-authors of the article, which appears in the March 11 Archives of Internal Medicine, include two of Soumerai’s colleagues in the HMS/HPHC Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention, assistant professor Thomas McLaughlin and associate professor Dennis Ross-Degnan, along with collaborators from Boston University School of Public Health and the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The study was funded by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health.
The above story is based on materials provided by Harvard Medical School. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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