Medications to Prevent Stroke

There are a wide range of medications that reduce the risk of developing a first or recurrent stroke.

You doctor will prescribe a medication depending on your risk for developing a stroke and the presence of other medical conditions.

Some medications are prescribed to treat underlying risk factors for stroke, such as hypertension, atrial fibrillation, and diabetes. While others work by preventing the formation of blood clots that lead to ischemic stroke, whether or not risk factors are present.

The following medications may be prescribed to prevent the formation of blood clots


A thrombolytic drug, such as t-PA, may be used to treat an ischemic stroke that has just occurred. These drugs halt the stroke by dissolving the blood clot that is blocking blood flow to the brain. But a person needs to be at the hospital as soon as possible after stroke symptoms start to be evaluated and receive treatment with thrombolytic medication.

Thrombolytics are not used to treat hemorrhagic strokes and are not used to prevent stroke.


Antithrombotics prevent the formation of blood clots that can become stuck in an artery of the brain and cause strokes.

Antiplatelet drugs

Antiplatelet drugs prevent clotting by decreasing the activity of platelets, which are blood cells that help blood clot. By reducing the risk of blood clots, these drugs lower the risk of ischemic stroke. In the case of stroke, doctors prescribe antiplatelet drugs mainly for prevention. The most widely known and used antiplatelet drug is aspirin. Other antiplatelet drugs include clopidogrel (Plavix®), ticlopidine (Ticlid®), dipyridamole, and dipyridamole and aspirin (Aggrenox®).


Anticoagulants reduce the risk of stroke by reducing the clotting property of the blood. The most commonly used oral anticoagulants include warfarin, also known as Coumadin®, dabigatran (Pradaxa®) and rivaroxaban (Xarelto®). Injectable anticoagulants include heparin, enoxaparin (Lovenox®), and dalteparin (Fragmin®).

Reference: The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

This information is for general educational uses only. It may not apply to you and your personal medical needs. This information should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation with or the advice of your physician or health care professional.

Communicate promptly with your physician or other health care professional with any health-related questions or concerns.

Be sure to follow specific instructions given to you by your physician or health care professional.

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