Drug for Stroke Declared Safe and Effective

September 19, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. effective /ɪˈfɛk tɪv/ (adj.) – giving the expected result
Example: The coffee was effective in helping me stay awake.

2. unconvinced /ˈʌn kənˈvɪnst/ (adj.) – not persuaded or not satisfied by something
Example: The public remains unconvinced by the politician’s speeches.

3. restore /rɪˈstɔr/ (v.) – to bring something back to its old condition
Example: The mechanic worked hard to restore the old car.

4. outweigh /ˌaʊtˈweɪ/ (v.) – to surpass or to be greater in value
Example: The benefits of the insurance outweigh its costs.

5. outcome /ˈaʊtˌkʌm/ (n.) – the final product or consequence
Example: Many people make bets on the outcome of sport events.


Read the text below.
Experts in the United Kingdom found that a drug commonly used to treat stroke is safe and effective when used within the recommended time period.

The drug called alteplase was analyzed by the Commission on Human Medicines (CHM), a committee under the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). The CHM reviewed data on the drug after concerns were raised regarding its risks.  While alteplase had positive effects on some people, others experienced bleeding in their brain.

Stroke usually occurs when a clot blocks blood flow in the brain, which can cause disability. The role of alteplase is to break down the said clot. Doing so restores blood flow in parts of the brain that have been affected by stroke.

Professor Sir Ian Weller, the committee’s head, stated that the analysis showed that the timing of taking the drug influences its effect. When taken up to four and a half hours after symptoms start, the drug’s benefits outweigh its risks.

The panel also concluded that the sooner the patient takes the drug, the more favorable the outcome will be. Findings show that when alteplase is taken from 0-3 hours after symptoms start, 10 out of 100 will be disability-free after three to six months. However, when it is taken between three and four and a half hours after a stroke, the figures decrease to 5 out of 100.

Despite the evidence presented, some doctors remain unconvinced. Sir Richard Thompson of the Royal College of Physicians felt that the study produced no new development. Nonetheless, the MHRA will continue monitoring and evaluating alteplase and its effects.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Would you take a drug that has a lot of risks if it can cure an illness that you have? Why or why not?
·         When you’re sick, do you go to the doctor immediately or do you try to find a cure on your own?

Discussion B

·         Do you think your country’s health care system is good? Why or why not?
·         Do you agree with the saying “prevention is better than cure”? Defend your answer.

September 19, 2015