The Canadian American Ticlopidine Study (CATS) is a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to assess the effect of ticlopidine (250 mg twice daily) in reducing the rate of subsequent occurrence of stroke, myocardial infarction, or vascular death in patients who have had a recent thromboembolic stroke. Twenty-five centres entered 1072 patients into the study between 1 week and 4 months after their qualifying stroke. The patients were treated and followed for up to 3 years (mean 24 months). In the efficacy analysis, the event rate per year for stroke, myocardial infarction or vascular death, considered together, was 15.3% in the placebo group and 10.8% in the ticlopidine group, representing a relative risk reduction with ticlopidine of 30.2% (95% confidence interval 7.5-48.3%; p = 0.006). Ticlopidine was beneficial for both men and women (relative risk reductions 28.1%, p = 0.037, and 34.2%, p = 0.045, respectively). Analysis by intention-to-treat gave a smaller estimate of risk reduction (23.3%, p = 0.020) for stroke, myocardial infarction, or vascular death. Adverse experiences associated with ticlopidine included neutropenia (severe in about 1% of cases) and skin rash and diarrhoea (severe in 2% of cases each); all were reversible. This study provides evidence of a beneficial effect of ticlopidine in both men and women with a recent thromboembolic stroke.