There is sometimes confusion among medical students that what’s the difference between the thrombolytic agents, fibrinolytic agents and the anticoagulants and which drugs or agents perform each of these actions.
Thrombolytic agents break down the thrombus / clot itself.
Example includes Heparin (natural thrombolytic)
Fibrinolytic agents are the one which breakdown the fibrin inside the clot but not the thrombus itself.
Example includes Plasminogen (natural fibrinolytic)
Anticoagulants work is before the clot is formed, i.e, they prevent the clot from getting formed in first place. Once the thrombus is formed they can’t break it down, instead, thrombolytic agents are used instead for the breakdown of the clot.
Hope it clarifies the concept of each of these. If you have any query related to thrombolytics, fibrinolytics or anticoagulants please let me know.