Research published in the Lancet Neurology has reinforced previous findings that patients can benefit from alteplase, even if they miss the drug's three-hour treatment window.
However, the benefits of late treatment quickly lessen with time. Patients should therefore be treated as early as possible, the researchers said.
In an editorial published alongside the study, Dr Steven Kasner and Dr Steven Levine of the University of Pennsylvania Medical Centre, said the licence for the drug should be extended to reflect the benefits of using it for eligible patients.
‘Many clinicians are already using alteplase,’ they said. ‘However, some will not use it without regulatory approval, and the time has come to overcome this hurdle.’