What is Tenecteplase?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Tenecteplase is a clot-busting medication a doctor may use to treat a myocardial infarction in the hospital. The medication attacks clots in the blood vessels around the heart, freeing the flow of blood and helping the heart receive enough blood to function. Known by the brand name TNKaseĀ®, this medication comes in the form of an injectable solution a doctor or nurse can administer. Care providers can offer other treatments at the same time to support the patient, reduce the risk of heart damage, and address any complications of the myocardial infarction.

Doctor taking notes
Doctor taking notes

This medication is a type of tissue plasminogen activator. Exposure to tenecteplase will break up clots, allowing blood to move freely again. The body can eliminate the clots as they move through the circulatory system. Patients only need a single dose of this medication and a care provider can inject it in a very rapid bolus for immediate relief from chest pain, tightness, and other symptoms of a myocardial infarction. The medication can limit tissue death by preventing oxygen deprivation around and in the heart.

Commonly, patients notice bleeding and bruising around the injection site. Tenecteplase can also cause side effects like internal bleeding and chest pain. These side effects can be dangerous, and it is important to report symptoms like abdominal pain, bloody stool, and chest tightness to a physician. Anemia can also be a risk in patients with internal bleeding, and may cause the patient to feel tired or weak over time. Patients who notice any symptoms of internal bleeding should discuss them with a doctor.

It is also possible to have an allergic reaction to tenecteplase. Patients who experience hives, itching, rashes, or difficulty breathing should talk to their doctors. Like other medications, this drug can also interact with existing medications and cause complications. When a doctor recommends tenecteplase, it is important to make sure the doctor is aware of any other medications being taken, and the time of the last dose. A doctor may need to adjust the treatment to address concerns about harmful drug interactions.

Treatment and recovery from a myocardial infarction can take time. The patient may need to spend several days in the hospital so nurses can provide monitoring and interventions as needed, and after going home, the patient will have a recovery period. During recovery, patients may start making diet and lifestyle adjustments to prevent future heart problems, and it may be necessary to start taking some medications in the long term.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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