Superior Vena Cava Syndrome Medication

Updated: Mar 26, 2018
  • Author: Todd A Nickloes, DO, FACOS; Chief Editor: Vincent Lopez Rowe, MD  more...
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Medication

Medication Summary

The goals of pharmacotherapy are to reduce morbidity and to prevent complications.

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Corticosteroids

Class Summary

These agents reduce swelling in patients with cerebral or laryngeal edema.

Dexamethasone (Decadron, Dexasone)

Important therapeutic agent in a number of malignant diseases. Exerts biologic action predominately by binding to glucocorticoid receptor. For symptomatic management in tumor-associated edema.

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Thrombolytics

Class Summary

The potential benefits of thrombolytics for the treatment of pulmonary embolism include fast dissolution of physiologically compromising pulmonary emboli, quickened recovery, prevention of recurrent thrombus formation, and rapid restoration of hemodynamic disturbances. For deep vein thrombosis, lysis of the thrombus can prevent pulmonary embolism and permanent pathologic changes, such as venous valvular dysfunction and postphlebitic syndrome.

Urokinase (Abbokinase)

Converts plasminogen to plasmin, which degrades fibrin clots, fibrinogen, and other plasma proteins.

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Anticoagulants

Class Summary

In superior vena cava syndrome (SVCS), these agents are used mainly to prevent pulmonary embolism from superior vena cava (SVC) thrombus.

Heparin

Inhibits thrombosis by inactivating activated factor X and inhibiting conversion of prothrombin to thrombin.

Warfarin (Coumadin)

Inhibits synthesis of vitamin K–dependent coagulation factors (factors II, VII, IX, X).

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