[The value of platelet inhibitors in the secondary prophylaxis of stroke — a review]

P D Schellinger, E Jüttler, Uta K Meyding-Lamadé, C Schwark
Fortschritte der Neurologie-Psychiatrie 2004, 72 (5): 270-81

INTRODUCTION: The goal of secondary prophylaxis following cerebral ischemia is a long lasting inhibition of thrombogenesis to prevent recurrent stroke or other vascular events. Platelet inhibitors (PI) according to meta-analyses lead to a relative risk reduction (RRR) of 22 % for vascular events after stroke. The aim of this article is a summary and critical review of all relevant studies and meta-analyses for secondary prevention of stroke and to give a differentiated therapeutic recommendation.

METHODS: We performed a careful and extensive review of the present literature for PI in the secondary prevention of stroke. Next to the classic meta-analyses such as the Antiplatelet Trialists' analysis, the relevant single trials (e. g. CATS, TASS, ESPS 2, CURE, CAPRIE) as well as meta-analyses and post hoc analyses of these studies are summarized and interpreted. Therapeutic recommendations are in consistence with the recommendations and guidelines of national (DGN), European (EUSI) and international (AHA/ASA) Groups/Associations. Also, the present literature was searched for new information with regard to side effects and pharmacological interactions and introduced into the review.

CONCLUSIONS: ASA reduces the RR after TIA/stroke by approximately 13 % and has the same efficacy with less side effects in lower dosages (50 - 325 mg/Tag). Ticlopidine is a reserve drug due to its unfavorable side effect profile (neutropenia, TTP). Clopidogrel is better than ASA (RRR 8.7 %) for vascular patients in preventing another vascular event (stroke, MI, vascular death). This effect is pronounced in patients at high risk for atherothrombotic events such as previous MI, cardiac surgery, or diabetes. Dipyridamole+ASA is better than ASA in patients with TIA/stroke (in indirect comparison also than Clopidogrel) for the secondary prevention of recurrent stroke (RRR 23 %), but not for the prevention of other vascular events. Therefore, Clopidogrel should be primarily given to patients with a high vascular risk (one or more cardiovascular risk factors) or to patients with ASA intolerance. Dipyridamole/ASA should be primarily given to TIA/stroke patients with a lower cardiovascular comorbidity. Studies for the combination of Clopidogrel/ASA (MATCH, CHARISMA) and for the comparison of both combinations (PRoFESS) are underway. At present, the combination of clopidogrel and ASA for cerebrovascular prevention should only be given within controlled studies or as an individual treatment with an accordingly acquired informed consent.

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