Background: To study the efficacy and safety of cilostazol on ischemic stroke prevention and treatment, systematic reviews of related clinical randomized controlled trials were analyzed.
Methods: We searched the main databases for eligible trials including literature from January 1966 to November 2012 in MEDLINE, reports from 1980 to November 2012 in EMBASE, and all the studies published in EBSCO, Springer, Ovid, and Cochrane library citations. We also searched for keywords, including cilostazol and aspirin. RewMan 5.0 software was used to conduct the meta-analysis.
Results: Our search yielded five eligible trials. The effects of cilostazol and aspirin on ischemic stroke prevention and treatment were almost equal (combined odds ratio (OR) 0.78, 95% confidence interval (CI) (0.59, 1.04)). Additionally, both magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) and transcranial Doppler (TCD) examination showed that cilostazol could significantly decrease the incidence of intracranial artery stenosis exacerbation (MRA: combined OR 0.22, 95% CI (0.07, 0.68); TCD: combined OR 0.17, 95% CI (0.05, 0.51)). In terms of adverse reactions, there were slightly fewer incidences of major bleeding with cilostazol than with aspirin (combined OR 0.38, 95% CI (0.24, 0.60)), and there was no difference in the number of heart palpitations between cilostazol and aspirin. However, the incidence of gastrointestinal disorders, dizziness, and headaches caused by cilostazol was greater.
Conclusions: Cilostazol might be a more effective and safer alternative to aspirin for patients with ischemic stroke. Further studies are required to confirm whether cilostazol is a suitable therapeutic option for secondary stroke prevention in larger cohorts of patients with ischemic stroke.