Antithrombotic Drugs for Secondary Stroke Prophylaxis

A Review of Efficacy, Toxicity and Safety Considerations

Charles L Bennett, MD, PhD
The Chicago VA Healthcare
System/Lakeside Division, the Robert H Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center and
the Division of Hematology/Oncology of the Department of Medicine,
Northwestern University,
Chicago, IL, USA.

Richard H Bennett, MD
Department of Neurology,
Albert Einstein Northern Hospital and
the Medical School of the University of Pennsylvania,
Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Stroke is a common cause of morbidity and mortality in older adults in the United States and Canada. Fortunately, in both countries, the age-adjusted national death rate for stroke has declined, reflecting increasingly widespread use of primary and secondary prophylaxis efforts. The mainstay of stroke prevention is the use of antiplatelet agents which interfere with thrombus formation by platelets in diseased or damaged blood vessels (see Figure 1). While aspirin has been the primary antiplatelet agent, over the past ten years, ticlopidine (Ticlid), clopidogrel (Plavix) and extended release dipyridamole plus aspirin (Aggrenox) have been approved for use in this setting.