Use of cilostazol for secondary stroke prevention: an old dog with new tricks?

Alexander J Ansara, Dane L Shiltz, Jennifer B Slavens
Annals of Pharmacotherapy 2012, 46 (3): 394-402

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of cilostazol for secondary prevention of non-cardioembolic ischemic stroke.

DATA SOURCES: PubMed and MEDLINE searches were performed (January 1970-September 2011) using the key words cilostazol, antiplatelet, aspirin, acetylsalicylic acid, secondary stroke prevention, ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, intracranial, cerebrovascular accident, and transient ischemic attack. Additionally, reference citations from publications identified were reviewed.

STUDY SELECTION AND DATA EXTRACTION: Articles published in English and relevant primary literature evaluating the efficacy and safety of cilostazol in the secondary prevention of atherosclerotic ischemic stroke were included.

DATA SYNTHESIS: Antiplatelet therapy plays a vital role in the multifaceted approach to secondary stroke prevention. Current American Heart Association/American Stroke Association clinical guidelines for secondary stroke prevention support the use of aspirin, clopidogrel, and combination aspirin/extended-release dipyridamole. The antiplatelet, antithrombotic, and vasodilatory effects of cilostazol make it a potential alternative agent for atherosclerotic stroke prevention. Recent literature has demonstrated superior efficacy of cilostazol 100 mg twice daily for secondary stroke prevention compared to placebo and aspirin. Three clinical trials were reviewed (1 placebo-controlled, 2 aspirin-controlled), all of which were conducted in Japan or China. Cilostazol reduced the primary outcome of recurrence of stroke, with significantly fewer major bleeding events when compared to aspirin.

CONCLUSIONS: Available literature suggests that cilostazol may be safer and more effective than aspirin in the secondary prevention of stroke in Asian patients. Further large-scale studies in more heterogeneous study populations are warranted to determine whether cilostazol is a viable therapeutic option for patients with a history of non-cardioembolic ischemic stroke.

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