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Drug Trio May Cut Stroke Severity

Too Soon to Recommend the Drug Mix, Researchers Caution

Less Severe Strokes

The study was done in hindsight. The researchers checked the patients' medical records to gauge stroke severity upon reaching the hospital.

Stroke severity on admission was significantly lower in patients taking all three types of drugs than in patients taking none of those drugs, antiplatelets alone, antiplatelets and statins, or antiplatelets and ACE inhibitors.

Average hospital stays were shorter with triple therapy (six days) than for patients only taking antiplatelets (seven days) or none of the drugs (nine days). The volume of brain tissue at risk after stroke was smaller in patients on triple therapy, the study also shows.

The degree of stroke recovery in hospital was similar among the groups. The key difference was the initial stroke severity, the researchers note.

Study's Limits

Larger, longer studies are needed before any recommendations are made, the researchers note. Here are three reasons for their caution:

  • The study doesn't show how the patients fared after leaving the hospital.
  • The researchers weren't able to adjust for any other illnesses patients may have had.
  • Patients weren't randomly assigned to take any (or none) of the drug types.

An editorial in the journal agrees.

The study is an "important" addition to the "growing evidence that statins and ACE inhibitors may be useful as neuroprotective agents in the setting of acute ischemic stroke," but more studies are required, the editorial notes.

The editorialists included Tanya Turan, MD, an assistant professor of neurology at Emory University.

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