[MOL] New Stroke Guidelines stress aspirin alternatives [00619] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] New Stroke Guidelines stress aspirin alternatives

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New stroke guidelines stress aspirin alternatives

DALLAS, Nov 4 (Reuters) - New blood-thinning drugs and lower doses of
aspirin can help prevent strokes and mini-strokes in patients who cannot
tolerate aspirin, the American Heart Association said on Thursday.

The recommendation came in updated guidelines to doctors for treating
patients at risk of a stroke after suffering a mini-stroke, or a short
blockage of blood to the brain.

A full-blown stroke from a brain blood clot can cause blindness,
or death. Someone who has experienced a mini-stroke, or transient
attack (TIA), is about 10 times more likely to suffer a major stroke
someone who has not, the association said.

In updated guidelines for treating mini-stroke patients, the American
Association said it is drawing doctors' attention to several advances in
medicines and surgery that have occurred since the guidelines were
issued in

These include new antiplatelet agents, or blood thinners, that help
blood clots from forming, it said in this month's edition of the journal

The new drugs are an alternative to aspirin for patients who cannot
aspirin, which can cause gastrointestinal bleeding or allergic reactions
some people, and those who have had a mini-stroke despite aspirin

The new antiplatelet drugs are clopidogrel, sold by Bristol Myers Squibb
under the name Plavix, which can be used alone, and dipyridamole, which
most effective when used in combination with aspirin. Dipyridamole is
by privately held Boehinger Ingelheim under the name Persantine.

``The addition of these two new antiplatelet medications offers
more options for treating stroke and TIA patients,'' Dr. Gregory Albers,
chaired the panel that updated the guidelines, said in a statement.

Albers is director of the Stanford Stroke Centre and associate professor
neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford University, Palo Alto,

Albers said another significant change in the guidelines is the lowering
the recommended dosages of aspirin to prevent stroke.

Some experts recommend doses as high as 1,300 milligrams per day,
to the article in Stroke.

``Recent studies indicate that aspirin can be just as effective for
prevention at lower doses ranging from 50 to 325 milligrams (a day).
means fewer side-effects for patients,'' Albers said.

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