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Stroke Study Casts Doubt on Plavix

Filed August 30th, 2012 Laurie

A new study reveals that adding the drug Plavix to a daily aspirin regimen is no better than taking aspirin alone to ward off a second stroke in patients who have already had a type of stroke typically caused by chronic high blood pressure.

In fact, researchers from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, found that the combination increased the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and death.

“Antiplatelet therapy is standard for the prevention of a second stroke,” said study author Dr. Robert Hart, a professor of neurology at McMaster University. “We wanted to see if combining two antiplatelet drugs, aspirin with clopidogrel [Plavix], would work better and prevent more strokes.”

Hart said the gastrointestinal bleeding and increased mortality findings were “completely unexpected.” He warned that the combination of drugs should not be used in people who have suffered a lacunar stroke.

A lacunar stroke occurs in the small blood vessels in the brain and is most likely caused by chronic hypertension. Lacunar strokes account for about one-fifth of all strokes and are more common in blacks, Hispanics, and people with diabetes.

Current guidelines recommend aspirin alone, Plavix alone, or aspirin plus Permole for preventing new strokes after most types of stroke.

Researchers are studying whether a combination of Plavix and aspiring are effective in preventing other types of strokes.

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