Patients who have a history of an ischemic stroke, which is a stroke caused by a blood clot, are often put on the drug clopidogrel. However, new research shows this may not be the answer for patients who have had a stroke.
Researchers conducted a study to see if adding aspirin in the treatment of stroke patients would be beneficial as it is in heart disease patients.The study included around 7,600 patients who received either aspirin or placebo on top of the existing clopidogrel therapy. After 18 months of treatment, researchers found a small decrease in vascular risks. However, they say the combination therapy doubled the risk of intracranial and gastrointestinal bleeding. Researchers say the risk of bleeding offsets any potential benefits from the combination treatment. Therefore, they do not recommend this combination therapy for patients who have had a stroke.
Thus researchers say this study shows the potential risks of adding aspirin to current clopidogrel therapy and they say that patients with a previous stroke who are currently taking aspirin and clopidogrel should be advised of the risk.