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    Antiplatelet Medicines for Stroke and Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)

    Examples

    Generic Name Brand Name
    aspirin Bayer, Bufferin, Ecotrin
    aspirin with dipyridamole Aggrenox
    clopidogrel Plavix

    How It Works

    Antiplatelet medicines reduce blood clot formation by preventing the smallest blood cells (platelets) from sticking together and forming blood clots.

    Why It Is Used

    Aspirin is the most commonly used medicine to prevent stroke. But all of these medicines can be used to reduce the risk of stroke in people who have already had a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or ischemic stroke.

    How Well It Works

    Aspirin reduces the risk of stroke and heart attack or another transient ischemic attack (TIA).

    Studies have shown that the combination of aspirin and extended-release dipyridamole reduces the risk of stroke and is a safe and effective alternative to aspirin alone.1

    Clopidogrel is a safe and effective alternative to aspirin.1

    It is important for each person to work with his or her doctor to find the best medicine.

    Side Effects

    All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

    Here are some important things to think about:

    • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
    • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
    • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

    Allergic reaction

    Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:

    Call your doctor if you have:

    Bleeding

    Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:

    Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if you have:

    • Any abnormal bleeding, such as:

    Common side effects of these medicines include:

    See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

    What To Think About

    Aspirin is the least expensive option to prevent blood clots in people who have had a stroke or TIA.

    For more information about taking daily aspirin, see the topic Aspirin to Prevent Heart Attack and Stroke.

    If you do not take aspirin, talk to your doctor before you start taking aspirin every day.

    actionset.gif Blood Thinners Other Than Warfarin: Taking Them Safely

    Taking medicine

    Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

    There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

    Advice for women

    If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or trying to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.

    Checkups

    Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments. And call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

    Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

    Citations

    1. Sacco RL, et al. (2008). Aspirin and extended-release dipyridamole versus clopidogrel for recurrent stroke. New England Journal of Medicine, 359(12): 1238-1251.

    ByHealthwise Staff
    Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
    Specialist Medical ReviewerKarin M. Lindholm, DO - Neurology

    Current as ofMarch 12, 2014

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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