12:36am Monday 14 October 2019

SLU Studies Stroke Prevention after TIAs, or ‘Warning Strokes’

Salvador Cruz-Flores, M.D.

Salvador Cruz-Flores, M.D., M.P.H., professor of neurology and director of the Souers Stroke Institute at Saint Louis University, will lead the study at SLU.

“When patients have TIAs, we know that, too often, stroke may follow,” said Cruz-Flores. “With this study, we hope to learn whether giving patients clopidogrel, a medication used to inhibit blood clots, in combination with aspirin will lower their risk of a stroke, especially right after a TIA.”

TIAs, or “mini-strokes” likely affect between 250,000 and 350,000 people in the U.S. each year. Symptoms, which occur suddenly and usually go away within minutes, can include trouble speaking, headache, vision changes, and numbness, tingling, weakness, or paralysis, especially on one side of the body,

Usually caused by blood clots that temporarily block blood flow to the brain, TIAs differ from strokes because symptoms are temporary and usually do not leave permanent damage to the brain; however, those who experience them are at greater short-term risk of having a stroke, especially in the first few days following the TIA. This is true even when TIA patients are treated with aspirin, which is the current standard of care. There has been no large-scale trial to learn whether other medications can help TIA patients avoid a stroke.

Saint Louis University will enroll 30 patients in a clinical trial aimed at studying the drug clopidogrel. In the randomized, placebo-controlled trial, half will receive 600 mg of clopidogrel immediately, followed by 75 mg for 90 days. The other half will be given a placebo. In addition, all patients will receive aspirin and other standard of care treatment for TIA. Participation in the trial will begin shortly after the onset of a TIA, with the first medication or placebo being given to patients within 12 hours of their TIA symptoms.

To learn more about the study, call Saint Louis University at 314-977-4871.

Established in 1836, Saint Louis University School of Medicine has the distinction of awarding the first medical degree west of the Mississippi River. The school educates physicians and biomedical scientists, conducts medical research, and provides health care on a local, national and international level. Research at the school seeks new cures and treatments in five key areas: cancer, liver disease, heart/lung disease, aging and brain disease, and infectious disease.

Carrie Bebermeyer

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