Washington: People who suffered a stroke caused by brain haemorrhage (bleeding in the brain) can safely continue to take antiplatelet medicines to reduce their risk of future heart attacks or strokes.
According to the study published in the Journal of the Lancet, doctors had thought the medicines, which include aspirin and clopidogrel might make people with stroke more likely to suffer another bleed in the brain.
Researchers found that people who took antiplatelet medicines experienced fewer recurrences of brain haemorrhage compared with those who did not take these treatments.
This suggests that the treatments reduce rather than increase the risk of further bleeding in the brain.
Around half of the participants underwent an additional brain scan using MRI at the beginning of the study. These scans are often used by doctors to check for the presence of tiny blood deposits in the brain, known as microbleeds, which can be a warning sign of future strokes.
The researchers found treatment with antiplatelet medication was not more hazardous for people who already had microbleeds in their brain.
Experts said this provides further reassurance that brain haemorrhage survivors can safely continue to take antiplatelet medicines to reduce their risk of future heart attacks or strokes.
Professor Rustam Salman, one of the researches, said, “The results of the trial are reassuring for survivors of brain haemorrhage who need to take antiplatelet medicines to prevent heart attacks and strokes. I am keen to investigate the possibility that these medicines might halve the risk of brain haemorrhage happening again.”
Professor Metin Avkiran, another researcher, said, “Around a third of people who suffer a brain haemorrhage, also known as haemorrhagic stroke, do so when they are taking an antiplatelet medicine such as aspirin to reduce the risk of a heart attack or an ischaemic stroke. We now have a strong indication they can carry on taking these potentially life-saving medicines after the brain haemorrhage without increasing the risk of another one, which is crucial new information for both patients and doctors.
“Although some developments have been made, the options at our disposal for treating and preventing strokes are still far too limited. Around 36,000 people die each year in the UK after having a stroke, most commonly an ischaemic stroke. Every advance from important research such as this takes us a step closer to better stroke prevention and management, ” Avkiran concluded.