Reteplase is used for the treatment of a heart attack called a myocardial infarction. Myocardial infarction is the irreversible death of heart muscle secondary to prolonged lack of oxygen supply. A heart attack occurs when one of the heart’s coronary arteries is blocked suddenly or has extremely slow blood flow. The usual cause of a sudden blockage in a coronary artery is the formation of a blood clot. Blood clots are made of red blood cells and platelets bound together with a substance called fibrin. When they have already achieved their normal purpose of stopping bleeding, the body dissolves clots. It is by producing another substance called plasmin. Plasmin breaks down fibrin and allows the clots to break up.

This medication is used to prevent congestive heart failure or death and improve heart function in people who have had a heart attack. Reteplase is a thrombolytic drug that is used to dissolve blood clots. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved this prescription. This belongs in the class of drugs called recombinant plasminogen activators. The product comes as a sterile, white, and lyophilized powder for intravenous bolus injection. This is available in the dosage form of 10.4 units which is equivalent to 18.1 mg.

How does Reteplase work?

Reteplase works by attaching to the fibrin in abnormal blood clots such as in the arteries supplying the heart. It activates the production of plasmin which causes the clots to disintegrate. This unblocks the blood vessel and allows blood flow to resume to the heart.

This drug must be given as soon as possible after the onset of symptoms and within 12 hours. It is to lessen the amount of damage to the heart.

How to use Reteplase?

The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to the treatment. Your doctor may direct you to start at a low dose and gradually change it. You should take each dose exactly as it is prescribed.

Reteplase is given by injection into a vein to break up the blood clot. You will also be given aspirin and heparin to decrease the risk of further blood clots. This medication is used as directed by your doctor. This medication should not suddenly stop without the consent of your doctor. If your condition does not improve or if it gets worse, call your doctor right away.

What are the side effects of Reteplase?

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Blood in the urine
  • Injection site bleeding
  • Fever
  • Stomach pain
  • Bloody or tarry stools
  • Vomiting blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds

Let your doctor know right away if these occur:

  • Hives or itching
  • Trouble breathing
  • Swelling of your lips, face, or tongue

Warnings and Precautions

  • This is not recommended for use in breastfeeding women. During pregnancy, this is used only when needed.
  • Do not use this if you ever had an allergic reaction to Reteplase.
  • Use this with caution in people over the age of 75 years, people with hypertension, and with narrowing of one of the valves in the heart.
  • This is not for use in people with blood clotting disorders, with a history of stroke, and severely decreased liver or kidney function.