Thrombolytic vs Antiplatelet: Difference and Comparison

Key Takeaways

  1. Thrombolytics are drugs that dissolve existing blood clots by activating the body’s fibrinolytic system, while antiplatelets prevent the formation of new blood clots by inhibiting platelet aggregation.
  2. Thrombolytics directly target and convert plasminogen into plasmin, which breaks down fibrin, the protein meshwork of blood clots. Antiplatelets interfere with platelet function, reducing their ability to stick together and form clots.
  3. Thrombolytics are used in emergencies such as heart attacks or strokes to dissolve blood clots and restore blood flow rapidly. At the same time, antiplatelets are commonly prescribed for conditions like coronary artery disease to prevent clot formation and reduce the risk of cardiovascular events.

What is Thrombolytic?

Thrombolytic is a type of medication that can dissolve blood clots. It is also called fibrinolytic. This drug breaks down the protein and resumes the blood flow. Heart attacks, strokes, and thrombosis can get treated by thrombolytics.

This medication is highly effective. However, one can not use it for every patient as it comes with the risk of bleeding side effects. This drug is only meant for emergencies. The emergencies include obstruction in a blood vessel and blocked blood flow.

For a patient with a heart attack, this drug can dissolve the clots and start blood flow to the heart again. This process will halt any further damage. Only a single dose is effective for curing the situation. It starts working immediately. Nevertheless, one should not use it without the guidance of healthcare professionals.

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What is an Antiplatelet?

An antiplatelet is a drug that will stop blood from forming clots. Blood clots form when platelets stick together. Antiplatelets lower this ability of platelets and thus prevent clots from developing. If the clots become excessive, the chances of heart attacks and strokes increase.

This medication blocks the function of some bodily chemicals ensuring its effect process. Common medicines like aspirin, prasugrel, clopidogrel, and ticagrelor use antiplatelet. If someone has a high risk of coronary artery disease or atrial fibrillation, this drug will help ease the condition.

It halts the blood clot development in the arteries that supply blood to the limbs. As a result, it diminishes the risk of gangrene. One can use this medication to control blood clots that originate in the veins, like pulmonary embolism.

Similar to thrombolytics, antiplatelets induce the risk of bleeding. Therefore, it is essential to consume this drug under the advice of a healthcare professional. The usage and dosage of this drug are subject to monitor. The professional will also decide the treatment duration based on the patient’s health condition.

Difference Between Thrombolytic and Antiplatelet

  1. Thrombolytic is used to dissolve the blood clots that have developed already. But antiplatelet can hold the process of clot development.
  2. Thrombolytic works by breaking down the fibrin present in blood clots. At the same time, antiplatelet deters platelets from merging and forming a clot.
  3. Thrombolytic gets used in emergencies, while antiplatelets are a preventative that can be used routinely by patients with coronary artery disease or atrial fibrillation.
  4. Thrombolytic comes with side effects. It can induce bleeding and, in some cases, can be life-threatening. Antiplatelet also has the risk of bleeding, but the chances are less than thrombolytic.
  5. Being an emergency drug, thrombolytics show results immediately, but antiplatelets can take several days to deliver results.
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Comparison Between Thrombolytic and Antiplatelet

Parameter of ComparisonThrombolyticAntiplatelet
PurposeIt is used to dissolve already-formed clots.It is used to stop the creation of blood clots in the first place.
How does it work?It works by breaking down the fibrin present in blood clots.It works by deterring platelets from attaching and developing a clot.
Intravenous methodIt is administered intravenously.It is given intravenously or orally.
Time of useIt is used in emergencies such as during a stroke or heart attack.It is a preventative measure given when a person is at high risk of acquiring blood clots.
Nature of actionIt works rapidly within minutes to hours after use.It takes time to perform its action. It can take several days to show results.
References
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022510X21001453
  2. https://www.jacc.org/doi/abs/10.1016/j.jcin.2014.10.017

Last Updated : 13 July, 2023

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