Medications for Stroke Treatment

Therapy using the most effective and safe medications is an important part of treatment at the Sacred Heart Medical Center Stroke Center. Medications are used to treat people who are in the middle of a stroke, and to prevent a first or second stroke.

The most common drugs used to treat a person suffering a stroke are the so-called “clot-busting drugs,” which are also used to treat people with heart attacks.

The Advanced Primary Stroke Center uses a drug called alteplase, which is a substance that occurs naturally in the body and causes blood clots to dissolve. The body, however, doesn’t always create enough alteplase, so a manufactured substitute is used, which is known as a tissue plasminogen activator, or TPA.

TPA can help stop a stroke in progress and limit later complications in the stroke patient. But to be effective, TPA must be administrated within two hours after the onset of the stroke.

Drugs used to prevent a stroke are known generally as antithrombotics. They help prevent stroke by stopping blood clots from forming and blocking arteries. There are two types: anticoagulants, also called “blood thinners,” and antiplatelets, which include aspirin and ibuprofen.