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Acta Neurol Scand. 1996 Jan;93(1):56-60.

Flunarizine in stroke treatment (FIST): a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in Scandinavia and the Netherlands.

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De Wever Hospital, Heerlen, Netherlands.



An international, multicenter trial was conducted in 331 patients to determine the effect of a large dose of flunarizine (a calcium entry blocker) in the treatment of acute ischemic stroke in the territory of the Middle cerebral artery.


The administration of the trial medication should start within 24 h after the initial symptoms of stroke. According to a random schedule, the patients were assigned to a 4-weeks double-blind treatment with either flunarizine (n = 166) or placebo (n = 165): one week intravenous administration (50 mg daily), followed by 3 weeks oral treatment (week 2, 21 mg daily; week 3-4, 7 mg daily). All patients had to be investigated by computerized tomography (CT) within 7 days after stroke onset; 36 patients were secundarily excluded because the CT showed another pathology. During the treatment period, other "stroke therapies" were not allowed. Patients were followed up for 24 weeks.


After the 24 weeks trial period, the percentage of patients who were dead or pendent (modified Rankin score 3-5) was similar in both treatment groups (flunarizine 67%, placebo 65%). During the trial, the scores for handicap severity (modified Rankin scale), neurological status (Orgogozo) and activities of daily living (modified Barthel index) strongly improved in both treatment groups, but no differences were found between the treatment groups. In this trial, the administration of trial treatment started relatively late after stroke onset (flunarizine group: mean time interval 13.5 h; placebo 12.3 h). A subgroup of patients received trial medication within 6 h after stroke onset (flunarizine n = 31; placebo n = 29). Also in this subgroup, no differences were found between the flunarizine and placebo group.


Flunarizine did not improve neurologic and functional outcome in patients with acute ischemic stroke.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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