Secondary stroke prevention with antiplatelet therapy with emphasis on the cardiac patient: a neurologist's view

James M Gebel
Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2005 September 6, 46 (5): 752-5
The prevention of secondary vascular events is of paramount importance in patients with a history of stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA). Most cardiologists are aware of the benefits of clopidogrel plus aspirin versus those of other antiplatelet regimens in patients with acute coronary syndrome. Using a representative post-stroke patient as an example, this article reviews data evaluating the effectiveness of antiplatelet regimens in preventing secondary vascular events in stroke and TIA patients. These results differ from those seen in clinical trials of acute coronary syndrome patients. Clinical studies provide little evidence that clopidogrel, with or without aspirin, is more efficacious in this setting than aspirin alone. Moreover, the increased risk of bleeding episodes with clopidogrel and aspirin in combination probably outweighs any small reductions in secondary event risk. In contrast, extended-release dipyridamole (ER-DP) plus aspirin reduces secondary stroke risk to a significantly greater extent (23% relative risk reduction) than aspirin alone. Currently available clinical trial data support the use of ER-DP plus aspirin, but not clopidogrel plus aspirin, to prevent secondary vascular events after stroke or TIA.

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