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What is medical therapy for stroke?

If you are at risk of having a stroke, it’s important to be able to recognize the signs of a stroke so that you can get to a hospital right away and receive medical treatment. There are also treatment options that can help prevent stroke.

Types of medical therapy

Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)

Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is an FDA-approved drug that breaks down the blood clots that cause a stroke. To be effective, the drug must be administered within three hours from the onset of symptoms. A doctor will examine you thoroughly to determine if tPA is appropriate. There are number of issues that might impact your doctor’s decision about using tPA, and it’s important to note that some individuals may arrive at the hospital within the three-hour window and not receive this medication for safety reasons.

Antiplatelet agents

There are also a number preventive treatment options if you are at greater risk of stroke. Your doctor may recommend diet and lifestyle changes, and may also recommend you start antiplatelet agents. These are drugs that interfere with your blood’s ability to clot and can keep you from developing the type of clots that cause a stroke. These drugs include:

  • Clopidogrel (Plavix®)
  • Aspirin combined with extended release dipyridamole (Aggrenox®)
  • Anticoagulants such as warfarin (Coumadin®)
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