The role of drugs in the etiology of stroke

Clin Neuropharmacol. 1992 Aug;15(4):249-75. doi: 10.1097/00002826-199208000-00001.


Drugs of many classes have been implicated in hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke. Alcohol in moderation may have a protective effect although in greater doses may predispose to stroke. Drugs such as cocaine, amphetamines and heroin have been associated with stroke by a number of mechanisms. Antiplatelet, anticoagulant and thrombolytic therapy carry risk of hemorrhagic complications. Oral contraceptives appear to slightly increase stroke risk whereas estrogen replacement therapy may decrease it. Anabolic steroid use in athletes has been linked to stroke. The antineoplastic agent L-asparaginase has been associated with cerebral hemorrhage, ischemic infarction and venous sinus thrombosis. Infarction has been reported in association with cisplatin-based combination chemotherapy. Stroke is an infrequent but recognized complication of some forms of drug therapy and drug abuse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / chemically induced*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / physiopathology
  • Humans