Learning About Antiplatelet Medicines After a Stroke

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Introduction

If you have had a stroke, you may have concerns about having another one. You want to do all you can do to avoid this. If your stroke was caused by a blood clot, one of the best things you can do is to take antiplatelet medicines. They can help prevent another stroke. In most cases, you don't take them if you had a stroke caused by a leak in an artery.

These medicines are often called blood thinners. But they don't thin your blood. They work to keep platelets from sticking together and forming blood clots. (A platelet is a type of blood cell.) Blood clots can cause a stroke if they block a blood vessel in the brain. So by preventing blood clots, you are helping to prevent a stroke.

Examples

  • Aspirin (Asaphen, Entrophen, Novasen)
  • Aspirin with dipyridamole (Aggrenox)
  • Clopidogrel (Plavix)

Possible side effects

These medicines make your blood take longer than normal to clot. This can cause bleeding, and you may bruise easily. In rare cases, they can cause you to bleed inside your body without an injury. If you have an injury, you might have bleeding that is hard to control.

These medicines may have other side effects. Depending on which one you take, you may:

  • Have diarrhea.
  • Feel sick to your stomach.
  • Have a headache.
  • Have some mild belly pain.

You may have other side effects or reactions not listed here. Check the information that comes with your medicine.

What to know about taking this medicine

  • Be sure you get instructions about how to take your medicine safely. Blood thinners can cause serious bleeding problems.
  • Be safe with medicines. Take your medicines exactly as prescribed. Call your doctor or nurse call line if you think you are having a problem with your medicine.
  • Check with your doctor or pharmacist before you use any other medicines, including over-the-counter medicines. Make sure your doctor knows all of the medicines and natural health products you take. Taking some medicines together can cause problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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