Antiplatelet therapy

Introduction

Antiplatelet medications, either singly or in combinations, are frequently used to reduce the risk of a further stroke after an ischaemic stroke or TIA.

  • Antiplatelet agents make platelets less sticky and thus reduce clot formation
  • Commonly used antiplatelet medications include: aspirin, dipyridamole and clopidogrel
  • Aspirin and dipyridamole is the most commonly prescribed combination after stroke
  • The combination of aspirin and clopidogrel is not recommended for long term use after stroke because of an increased bleeding risk.
  • Antiplatelet drugs increase the risk of bleeding – they should be used with caution in patients with a history of bleeding or anaemia
  • Dipyridamole frequently causes headaches, diarrhoea and dizziness – patients should be told of the common side effects beforehand, so that they can attribute symptoms to the correct tablet

Page last reviewed: 08 May 2020