STUDY: ASPIRIN, DIPYRIDAMOLE SHOW EFFICACY IN STROKE PATIENTS

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A combination of aspirin and the antiplatelet drug dipyridamole has been shown to help survivors of minor strokes, according to a study published in the British journal The Lancet. Dipyridamole is found in the drugs Aggrenox (which also contains aspirin) and Persantine.

The study (the European/Australasian Stroke Prevention in Reversible Ischaemia Trial, or ESPRIT) showed that among people who had already had a transient ischemic attack (TIA, or "ministroke") or a minor stroke, those who took aspirin and dipyridamole were less likely to suffer a nonfatal stroke or heart attack, have major bleeding complications, or die of vascular problems for a period covering 3.5 years.

Researchers randomly assigned patients to one of two drug plans -- aspirin alone or aspirin plus dipyridamole. Daily aspirin doses ranged from 30 milligrams to 325 milligrams. Four negative side effects -- death from vascular causes, nonfatal heart attack, nonfatal stroke, and major bleeding complications -- were approximately 20 percent less likely in the patients who took aspirin and dipyridamole compared with those who only took aspirin.