Medicines

Taking your medicine as directed is important. Your healthcare provider will decide which medicines you should take. This depends on your:

  • medical history
  • cause of stroke
  • allergies

The following are some medicines you may take. Your health care provider will give you more information about your medicine.

Medicines to help prevent blood clots

You may have other medicines prescribed during your hospital stay not listed here. Take them as directed.

Anti-platelets

Platelets circulate (move) in your blood and help form blood clots. Anti-platelet medicines help keep the blood from clotting. These medicines are known as blood thinners. Some types of anti-platelets include:

Aspirin

Aspirin is often the first choice to prevent another stroke.Over-the-counter medicines like Tylenol®, Advil® or Aleve®do not keep the blood from clotting. Only aspirin can keep your blood from clotting.

If aspirin upsets your stomach, you may take a coated aspirin.

Extended release dipyridamole and aspirin combination (Aggrenox®), clopidogrel (Plavix®), ticlopidine (Ticlid®) and others

Like aspirin, these medicines keep your blood from clotting. You can only get these medicines with a prescription.Your health care provider will decide if any of these medicines will work better for you than aspirin.

Anticoagulants

Other parts of your blood (besides platelets) can cause blood clots. Anticoagulant medicines keep you from getting blood clots and help break up blood clots that form. These medicines are known as blood thinners. Some types of anticoagulants include:

Warfarin (Coumadin® or Jantoven®)

Warfarin is a common medicine to prevent stroke. You will need to have a blood test called the international normalized ration (INR) to decide the best dose for you.

You will need to have regular blood tests to determine the best dose for you. If you have questions about warfarin,ask your health care provider.

Other anticoagulants

If warfarin is not the best anticoagulant medicine for you, your health care provider may recommend a different anticoagulant. Other common anticoagulants include apixaban (Eliquis®), dabigatran (Pradaxa®) or rivaroxiban (Xarelto®).

You do not need to have a blood test with these medicines.

Medicines to lower cholesterol

Anti-hyperlipidemics

These medicines lower the cholesterol levels in your blood. This has many benefits. One group of these medicines, known as "statins," has been shown to help reduce the risk for stroke in people who have high cholesterol.

Common statins include atorvastatin (Lipitor®), fluvastatin (Lescol®, Lescol XL®), rosuvastatin (Crestor®), simvastatin (Zocor)®.

If you are taking a different anti-hyperlipidemic medicine and have a stroke, a statin medicine might be added to your current medicines to help prevent another stroke.

Related resources

Source: Allina Health Patient EducationUnderstanding Stroke, fifth edition, neuro-ahc-90662
Reviewed By: Allina Health Patient Education experts
First Published: 02/01/2006
Last Reviewed: 05/01/2018

Important
Call your health care provider if you have severe or unusual reactions to your medicine(s).
Tip
Your health care provider will tell you how to get your medicine. You can buy some medicine over-the-counter. You will need a prescription to get other types of medicine.