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Wider window for starting alteplase after stroke gets nod from NICE

News team

Alteplase has been approved for use within its extended time window for initiating treatment after stroke in guidance published today by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (26 September 2012).

The document updates NICE’s 2007 guidance on the use of alteplase (Actilyse; Boehringer Ingelheim) for treating acute ischaemic stroke, to reflect a recent licensing change that widened the window for beginning treatment from three hours to four and a half hours.

NICE says treatment must be started as early as possible after the onset of stroke symptoms, and after intracranial haemorrhage has been excluded using the appropriate imaging techniques.

Carole Longson, director of the NICE Health Technology Evaluation Centre, stressed that the benefits of alteplase treatment "can only be realised if brain imaging to confirm a diagnosis of acute ischaemic stroke is received as soon as possible, and certainly within one hour of arrival at the hospital, as per the NICE Quality Standard for stroke".

The Scottish Medicines Consortium approved alteplase’s extended treatment window for stroke in June 2012 (PJ 2012;288:702).

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 11107288

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