Story 29 Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA) for stroke

A neurologist from Calgary reports that on 30 April 2013 Hoffman-LaRoche announced a shortage of tPA, an injectable drug used to treat acute stroke by breaking down clots. It is an old reliable drug  first approved for use by US FDA in 1996.

Neurologists were given just one week’s notice and told that they can expect the shortage to last two weeks.

An alternative drug is available but it is not yet approved for use in Canada, although it may eventually prove to be superior to tPA. Neurologists are advised to obtain consent from their patients prior to using the unapproved treatment.