Aspirin ‘safe’ for brain stroke patients: Study

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London, May 22 (IANS) People who have suffered brain haemorrhage can take common medicines such as aspirin without raising their risk of another stroke, suggest researchers.

Aspirin and Clopidogrel, also known antiplatelet medicines are often prescribed to older people because they can lower risk of heart attack and stroke caused by a blood clot.

Although doctors wary of recommending antiplatelet medicines for stroke patients, fearing the risk of another brain bleed, this new study called “Restart”, published in The Lancet journal, has found that brain haemorrhage survivors can “safely” continue to take antiplatelet medicines to reduce their risk of future heart attacks or strokes.

“The results of the RESTART trial are reassuring for survivors of brain haemorrhage who need to take antiplatelet medicines to prevent heart attacks and strokes. I am keen to investigate the possibility that these medicines might halve the risk of brain haemorrhage happening again,” said Rustam Salman, Professor at the University of Edinburgh.

For the study, the researchers analysed medical records of 537 people from across the UK who had suffered a brain haemorrhage while they were taking medicines to stop blood clotting.

The patients were assigned to either start taking antiplatelet treatment or avoid it for up to five years.

The researchers found that patients, who took antiplatelet medicines experienced fewer recurrences of brain haemorrhage as compared to those who did not take these treatments.

The study’s findings indicated that treatment with antiplatelet medicines was not hazardous for people who already had microbleeds in their brain.

“Around a third of people who suffer a brain haemorrhage, also known as haemorrhagic stroke, do so when they are taking an antiplatelet medicine such as aspirin to reduce the risk of a heart attack or an ischaemic stroke,” Metin Avkiran, Associate Medical Director at British Heart Foundation (BHF), UK said.

“We now have a strong indication they can carry on taking these potentially life-saving medicines after the brain haemorrhage without increasing the risk of another one, which is crucial new information for both patients and doctors,” Avkiran noted.

“Every advance from important research such as this takes us a step closer to better stroke prevention and management,” he concluded.

The researchers said around 36,000 people die each year in the UK after having a stroke, most commonly an ischaemic stroke.

–IANS

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