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Neurotherapeutics. 2011 Jul;8(3):475-87. doi: 10.1007/s13311-011-0060-2.

Antiplatelet agents for stroke prevention.

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  • 1Division of Neurology, Brain Research Centre, University of British Columbia, Stroke Program, Vancouver, British Columbia V5Z1M9, Canada.


Stroke is one of the leading causes of disability and death. Ischemic stroke is a syndrome with heterogeneous mechanisms and multiple etiologies, rather than a singularly defined disease. Approximately one third of ischemic strokes are preceded by another cerebrovascular ischemic event. Stroke survivors are at high risk of vascular events (i.e., cerebrovascular and cardiovascular events), particularly during the first several months after the ischemic event. The use of antiplatelet agents remains the fundamental component of secondary stroke prevention. Based on the available data, antiplatelet agents should be used for patients with noncardioembolic stroke. The use of combination therapy (aspirin plus clopidogrel) has not been proven to be effective or safe to use for prevention of early stroke recurrence or in long-term treatment. There is no convincing evidence that any of the available antiplatelet agents are superior for a given stroke subtype. Currently, the uses of aspirin, clopidogrel, or aspirin combined with extended release dipyridamole are all valid alternatives after an ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack. However, to maximize the effects of these agents, the treatment should be initiated as early as possible and be continued on a lifelong basis.

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