Objectives: This article provides recommendations on the use of antithrombotic therapy in patients with stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA).
Methods: We generated treatment recommendations (Grade 1) and suggestions (Grade 2) based on high (A), moderate (B), and low (C) quality evidence.
Results: In patients with acute ischemic stroke, we recommend IV recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (r-tPA) if treatment can be initiated within 3 h (Grade 1A) or 4.5 h (Grade 2C) of symptom onset; we suggest intraarterial r-tPA in patients ineligible for IV tPA if treatment can be initiated within 6 h (Grade 2C); we suggest against the use of mechanical thrombectomy (Grade 2C) although carefully selected patients may choose this intervention; and we recommend early aspirin therapy at a dose of 160 to 325 mg (Grade 1A). In patients with acute stroke and restricted mobility, we suggest the use of prophylactic-dose heparin or intermittent pneumatic compression devices (Grade 2B) and suggest against the use of elastic compression stockings (Grade 2B). In patients with a history of noncardioembolic ischemic stroke or TIA, we recommend long-term treatment with aspirin (75-100 mg once daily), clopidogrel (75 mg once daily), aspirin/extended release dipyridamole (25 mg/200 mg bid), or cilostazol (100 mg bid) over no antiplatelet therapy (Grade 1A), oral anticoagulants (Grade 1B), the combination of clopidogrel plus aspirin (Grade 1B), or triflusal (Grade 2B). Of the recommended antiplatelet regimens, we suggest clopidogrel or aspirin/extended-release dipyridamole over aspirin (Grade 2B) or cilostazol (Grade 2C). In patients with a history of stroke or TIA and atrial fibrillation we recommend oral anticoagulation over no antithrombotic therapy, aspirin, and combination therapy with aspirin and clopidogrel (Grade 1B).
Conclusions: These recommendations can help clinicians make evidence-based treatment decisions with their patients who have had strokes.