Recurrent Ischemic Stroke: Strategies for Prevention

Am Fam Physician. 2017 Oct 1;96(7):436-440.


Recurrent strokes make up almost 25% of the nearly 800,000 strokes that occur annually in the United States. Risk factors for ischemic stroke include hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia, sleep apnea, and obesity. Lifestyle modifications, including tobacco cessation, decreased alcohol use, and increased physical activity, are also important in the management of patients with a history of stroke or transient ischemic attack. Antiplatelet therapy is recommended to reduce the risk of recurrent ischemic stroke. The selection of antiplatelet therapy should be based on timing, safety, effectiveness, cost, patient characteristics, and patient preference. Aspirin is recommended as initial treatment to prevent recurrent ischemic stroke. Clopidogrel is recommended as an alternative monotherapy and in patients allergic to aspirin. The combination of clopidogrel and aspirin is not recommended for long-term use (more than two to three years) because of increased bleeding risk. Aspirin/dipyridamole is at least as effective as aspirin alone, but it is not as well tolerated. Warfarin should not be used for prevention of recurrent ischemic stroke.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aspirin / therapeutic use*
  • Clopidogrel
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / drug therapy*
  • Ischemic Attack, Transient / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Secondary Prevention / methods*
  • Stroke / drug therapy*
  • Stroke / prevention & control
  • Ticlopidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Ticlopidine / therapeutic use
  • United States


  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Clopidogrel
  • Ticlopidine
  • Aspirin