Skip to Content

What drugs prevent a stroke?

Stroke is a serious medical condition that occurs when the blood supply to the brain is disrupted, resulting in the death of brain cells. There are two main types of stroke: ischemic stroke, which is caused by a blockage in a blood vessel supplying the brain, and hemorrhagic stroke, which is caused by bleeding in the brain. While stroke can have devastating consequences, it is often preventable through lifestyle changes and medication. In this blog post, we will focus on the role of antiplatelet drugs in preventing stroke and specifically discuss the commonly used drug ASA (acetylsalicylic acid, also known as Aspirin).

Antiplatelet Drugs

Antiplatelet drugs are medications that help prevent the formation of blood clots by inhibiting the aggregation, or sticking together, of platelets in the blood. Platelets are responsible for forming clots to prevent excessive bleeding, but they can also contribute to the development of blood clots that can lead to strokes and other cardiovascular events. Antiplatelet drugs play a crucial role in stroke prevention by reducing the risk of clot formation.

Role of Antiplatelet Drugs in Stroke Prevention

The main goal of using antiplatelet drugs, such as ASA, in stroke prevention is to prevent the formation of blood clots in the arteries that supply the brain. By inhibiting platelet aggregation, these medications help maintain healthy blood flow and reduce the risk of a clot blocking a blood vessel, which could lead to a stroke.

Commonly Used Antiplatelet Drug: ASA (Aspirin)

ASA, or acetylsalicylic acid, is one of the most commonly used antiplatelet drugs for stroke prevention. It has been widely studied and proven to be effective in reducing the risk of stroke in certain populations. ASA works by stopping the production of chemicals in the body that promote platelet aggregation. This helps to prevent the formation of blood clots and reduces the risk of stroke.

Acetylsalicylic Acid (Aspirin)

Overview of ASA

ASA, commonly known by the brand name Aspirin, is a medication that belongs to a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). In addition to its antiplatelet effects, ASA is also known for its analgesic (pain-relieving) and antipyretic (fever-reducing) properties. However, for the purpose of stroke prevention, ASA is most commonly used in lower doses, specifically to inhibit platelet aggregation.

Recommended Dosage for Stroke Prevention

The recommended dosage of ASA for stroke prevention may vary depending on individual circumstances and medical history. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage for each individual. In general, daily doses of ASA ranging from 75mg to 325mg have been shown to be effective in reducing the risk of stroke.

Effectiveness and Evidence Supporting its Use

The effectiveness of ASA in stroke prevention has been supported by numerous clinical studies and trials. For example, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that long-term use of low-dose ASA reduced the risk of first stroke by 23%. Another study published in the Lancet demonstrated that ASA reduced the risk of recurrent stroke in patients who have already had a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).

Potential Side Effects and Precautions

While ASA is generally considered safe and well-tolerated, it is important to be aware of potential side effects and precautions. Common side effects include gastrointestinal symptoms, such as stomach pain or heartburn, and a small risk of bleeding. ASA should not be used by individuals who are allergic to it or have a history of certain medical conditions, such as bleeding disorders or peptic ulcers. It is important to discuss any concerns or potential interactions with a healthcare professional.

Other Antiplatelet Drugs

In addition to ASA, there are other antiplatelet drugs that may be used for stroke prevention, depending on individual circumstances and healthcare provider recommendations.

Clopidogrel (Plavix)

Clopidogrel, commonly known by the brand name Plavix, is another antiplatelet drug that is often used for stroke prevention. It works by inhibiting platelet aggregation and can be used in combination with ASA or as an alternative in certain cases. Clopidogrel is typically prescribed in a daily dose of 75mg and may be used for individuals who cannot tolerate ASA or require additional antiplatelet therapy.

Ticagrelor (Brilinta)

Ticagrelor, marketed under the brand name Brilinta, is a newer antiplatelet drug that has also been shown to be effective in stroke prevention. It works by blocking a specific receptor on platelets, preventing their aggregation. Ticagrelor is typically prescribed in a twice-daily dose of 90mg and may be used as an alternative or in combination with ASA in certain cases.

Combination Therapy

In some cases, healthcare providers may recommend combination therapy, which involves the use of two or more antiplatelet drugs together. This approach aims to further reduce the risk of clot formation and may be particularly beneficial for individuals at high risk of stroke.

Use of Dual Antiplatelet Therapy

Dual antiplatelet therapy typically involves combining ASA with another antiplatelet drug, such as clopidogrel or ticagrelor. This combination approach has been studied extensively and has shown promising results in reducing the risk of recurrent stroke and other cardiovascular events. However, the decision to use dual antiplatelet therapy should be based on individual risk factors and discussed with a healthcare professional.

Advantages and Considerations

The advantage of combination therapy is the increased efficacy in preventing blood clots and reducing the risk of stroke. However, it is important to consider potential drawbacks, such as an increased risk of bleeding, as the use of multiple antiplatelet drugs further affects the blood’s ability to clot. The risks and benefits of combination therapy should be carefully evaluated on an individual basis.

Examples of Combination Therapy

Some examples of combination therapy include ASA + clopidogrel, ASA + dipyridamole, and ticagrelor + ASA. Each combination has its own unique benefits and considerations, and the choice of therapy will depend on individual circumstances and healthcare provider recommendations.

Considerations and Consultation

When it comes to stroke prevention, it is important to take an individualized approach and consult with a healthcare professional. They can assess an individual’s risk factors, medical history, and specific needs to determine the most appropriate antiplatelet therapy. Regular monitoring is crucial to ensure the effectiveness of the medication and to make any necessary adjustments if needed.


Antiplatelet drugs, such as ASA, play a critical role in stroke prevention by reducing the risk of blood clots in the brain’s blood vessels. ASA has been widely studied and proven to be effective in reducing the risk of stroke in certain populations. Other antiplatelet drugs, such as clopidogrel and ticagrelor, may also be used depending on individual circumstances. Combination therapy can further enhance the efficacy of stroke prevention, but it must be carefully evaluated and monitored to mitigate the risk of bleeding. Consulting with a healthcare professional is essential in determining the most suitable antiplatelet therapy for stroke prevention and ensuring optimal care. By adhering to recommended treatment regimens and seeking regular medical guidance, individuals can significantly reduce their risk of stroke and achieve better overall cardiovascular health.


  1. FDA Approves New Drug to Reduce Risk of Stroke
  2. Stroke Medication: Anticoagulants, tPA, Statins, and More
  3. Medicines to Prevent Heart Attack and Stroke
  4. Stroke – Medication to prevent another stroke
  5. Medication for Stroke