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Patients given the “clot-busting” drug alteplase immediately after a stroke benefit more than those given the treatment hours later, research has suggested.
A study published in The Lancet found that the advantages of the product fell rapidly as time to treatment increased, with the risks posed by side effects outweighing the benefits 4.5 hours after onset.
Research leader Professor Kennedy R Lees, of the University of Glasgow, said intravenous use of alteplase, meanwhile, was effective with ischaemic strokes for up to three hours after the event.
Importantly, the analysis showed for the first time that short-term survival is reduced by treatment that starts late, with mortality increasing significantly as time passes.
The study reviewed data from 3670 patients in eight trials to reach its conclusions.
Copyright Press Association 2010