Antiplatelet Therapy in Acute Cerebral Ischemia

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Improved recognition of stroke signs and symptoms has paralleled the development of pharmacological strategies that may be examined to reduce stroke mortality and morbidity. Presently, tissue plasminogen activator is the only therapy that significantly improves outcome in acute stroke, with no agent demonstrating a significant reduction in mortality.


The use of antiplatelet therapy in acute stroke, clinical or experimental, has only recently received attention. It is likely that the use of antiplatelet agents for acute stroke therapy will be less restrictive than that currently seen for thrombolytics. Future studies should include an examination of those agents that have previously demonstrated efficacy in secondary stroke prevention, most notably, aspirin. The recognition that all platelet stimuli share a final common pathway that is dependent on the surface glycoprotein IIb/IIIa (fibrinogen) receptor has resulted in the development of various agents which block this receptor and are currently the focus for clinical trials. The role of nitric oxide in stroke therapy will depend on minimizing the hypotensive side effects of this agent. Stroke models are needed to provide preliminary data on the efficacy of antiplatelet therapy, especially as relates to the interaction of antiplatelet agents with thrombolytics. (Stroke. 1999;30:887-893.)

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