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Medicines

  • Taking your medicine as directed is important. Your health care 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 rivaroxaban (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.

  • 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.