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The thrombolytic agents urokinase and streptokinase are safe and more effective than traditional anticoagulants in treating deep-vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism in carefully selected patients, a panel of experts convened by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has concluded.
In an official statement following a two-day NIH consensus development conference on fibrinolytic therapy held earlier this spring, the panel members agreed that the risk of uncontrolled bleeding that has been associated with the two drugs is actually far less than was indicated by the original clinical trials. In addition, the long-term benefits of streptokinase and urokinase make them far superior to heparin sodium in most cases.
In urging that the two drugs be used more often, the consensus panel, headed by Sol Sherry, MD, chairman of the Department of Medicine at Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, was attempting to overcome a marked hesitance on the part of clinicians to
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