Patients who were undergoing heart surgery used to take aprotinin in order to control excessive bleeding. This medication is a protease inhibitor; it stops bleeding by stopping the body from producing a substance that contributes to inflammation during heart surgery. It was pulled from the market in May 2008 because of safety concerns.
This medication sometimes causes fatal allergic reactions. Patients who had aprotinin more than once in a 12 month period are more likely to have a severe or fatal allergic reaction than patients who have the medication for the first time. However, the reaction can occur any time this medication is administered.
Symptoms of an allergic reaction include:
- Rashes, hives or itching
- Chest tightness
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the tongue, mouth or face.
- Fast heartbeat
- Low blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness