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Alteplase Given Promptly After Stroke Reduces Long-Term Disability, Study Finds

Update Date: Aug 06, 2014 11:28 AM EDT

Many more stroke patients could benefit from thrombolytic treatment, however it needs to administered as quickly as possible after the first signs of illness , a new study has found. 

The thrombolytic treatment is the use of drugs to break up or dissolve blood clots. 

The emergency treatment of alteplase is beneficial if administered within 4-5 hours of onset of symptoms but its benefit diminishes if given later. Findings of the study underscore that how important it is for people with acute ischaemic stroke to be identified quickly and treated by specialist staff in order to reduce the subsequent degree of disability.

"Our results show that alteplase treatment is a very effective means of limiting the degree of disability in stroke patients," said study co-author and senior statistician Dr Jonathan Emberson, from the Clinical Trial Service Unit at the University of Oxford in the UK, in the press release. 

The study is the meta-analysis involving more than 6700 stroke patient. The randomized trials showed that alteplase treatment significantly increased the odds of a good stroke outcome with faster treatment offering the best chance of recovery. 

"Although alteplase increased the risk of death from intracranial haemorrhage by about 2% within the first few days after stroke, by a few months survivors treated with alteplase were less likely to be disabled than those not receiving such treatment. Indeed, alteplase increased the proportion who avoided disability altogether by about 10% for patients treated within 3 hours and 5% for those treated between 3 and 4-5 hours," added Dr Emberson in the press release. 

The study has been published in The Lancet. 

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