Only very limited data are available concerning patient adherence to antithrombotic medication intended to prevent a recurrent stroke. Reduced adherence and compliance could significantly influence the effects of any stroke prevention strategies. This study from a large stroke data bank provides representative data concerning the rate of stroke victims adhering to their recommended preventive medication. During a 2-year period beginning January 1, 1998, all patients with acute stroke or TIA in 23 neurological departments with an acute stroke unit were included in the German Stroke Data Bank. Data were collected prospectively, reviewed, validated and processed in a central data management unit. Only 12 centers with a follow-up rate of 80% or higher were included in this evaluation. 3,420 patients were followed up after 3 months, and 2,640 patients were followed up one year after their stroke. After one year, 96% of all patients reported still adhere to at least one medical stroke prevention strategy. Of the patients receiving aspirin at discharge, 92.6% reported to use that medication after 3 months and 84% after one year, while 81.6 and 61.6% were the respective figures for clopidogrel, and 85.2 and 77.4% for oral anticoagulation. Most patients who changed medication switched from aspirin to clopidogrel. Under the conditions of this observational study, adherence to stroke prevention strategies is excellent. The highest adherence rate is noticed for aspirin and oral anticoagulation. After one year, very few patients stopped taking stroke preventive medication.
Copyright 2003 S. Karger AG, Basel