On 26 September, earlier than it was expected, the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued final guidance on the use of alteplase (Actilyse, Boehringer Ingelheim) for the treatment of acute ischaemic stroke. NICE has recommended alteplase within the NHS as long as treatment is started as early as possible within 4.5 hours after onset of stroke symptoms, and after intracranial haemorrhage has been excluded by appropriate imaging techniques.
Alteplase is a tissue plasminogen activator. It is administered during the acute phase of the stroke and activates the production of plasmin, an enzyme that degrades fibrin clots thereby helping to restore blood flow through the blocked artery.
The update was prompted by a change in the drug’s licence which allows an extension in the time period it can be used, from within 3 hours to within 4.5 hours of the onset of symptoms.
For more information on the guidance click here.