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Stroke occurs when blood clots block blood flow to the brain. Aggrenox acts as an antiplatelet, preventing blood platelets from aggregating to form the dangerous clots.
Platelet aggregation is actually a natural process which allows platelet cells to stick together and adhere to the blood vessel wall to prevent excessive blood loss when a blood vessel is damaged. However, for patients who have high-risk of blood clotting, this mechanism can be dangerous. Aggrenox works to prevent the clotting in patients, such as stroke victims, who fall into this high-risk category.
Stroke, the third leading cause of death in the United States, afflicts 730,000 Americans in all and kills approximately 160,000 of those victims each year. Recurrance rate over five years ranges from 30% to nearly 50%, so a drug like Aggrenox which lowers the risk for recurrance is essential.
Results of the European Stroke Prevention Study 2 (ESPS2), which
involved over 6,600 patients, indicated that Aggrenox reduces the
risk of recurrent stroke by 37% compared to placebo. Aspirin-only
regimens reduced the risk by only 18% as compared to the
In addition, the results of the study indicated that Aggrenox may reduce risk for secondary stroke more effectively than Clopidogrel, another antiplatelet, although direct- comparison studies between the two drugs have not yet been done.
Although Aggrenox generally well-tolerated, it was shown to induce headache, bleeding, and gastrointestinal events in some patients undergoing the treatment.
Mechanism of Action
Aggrenox is an aspirin/extended-release dipyridamole combination that acts on multiple mechanisms of the platelet-aggregation process to prevent clumping and clotting.
Gregory W. Albers, Robert G. Hart, Helmi L. Lutsep, David W. Newell, and Ralph L. Sacco. "Supplement to the Guidelines for the Management of Transient Ischemic Attacks," Stroke, November 1999, Vol 30:2502-2511.
Visit the following online sites for more information about Aggrenox, strokes, and stroke-related issues:
- The National Stroke Association. www.stroke.org or call 1-800-STROKES
- Stroke; the Journal of the American Heart Association. stroke.ahajournals.org
- Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. www.boehringer-ingelheim.com
- Sudden numbness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion; trouble speaking or understanding
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
If you experience any of these symptoms, seek emergency medical attention immediately! Stroke is very serious and can "cascade" rapidly, but treatment can be more effective if given quickly.