Ischemic stroke is the third most common cause of death and of long-term disability and exhibits a high recurrence rate. Therefore, appropriate primary and secondary prevention is mandatory. In non-cardioembolic stroke, in addition to lifestyle changes and to targeted treatments, current guidelines recommend antiplatelet treatment. In cardioembolic stroke, Vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) are recommended. Although a favorable risk/benefit ratio of both treatments has also been demonstrated in elderly patients, registry data emphasize that such interventions are often under-used, especially in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). Furthermore, variability in the inter-individual response to drugs has been recognized as a leading cause of event recurrence. Thus, in addition to poor adherence, efficacy and safety issues appear to be involved in the recurrence rate of stroke. In this review, we report main Registries data on adherence to stroke prevention treatment schedule. We also discuss the major limitations of “traditional” antithrombotic drugs and report Phase III study results on safety and efficacy of new antiplatelet and anticoagulant drugs, with emphasis on stroke prevention.
Keywords: Stroke prevention, recommendations, compliance, new antithrombotic drugs, ischemic stroke, vitamin K antagonists, atrial fibrillation, myocardial infarction, coronary artery bypass grafting, cytochrome P-450