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Antibiotic Shows Promise as Stroke Treatment
Date:10/1/2007

Minocycline improves patient outcomes if given with 24 hours, study finds

MONDAY, Oct. 1 (HealthDay News) -- An antibiotic used to treat severe acne and urinary tract infections also appears to be a potent weapon against acute ischemic stroke, a new report from Israeli researchers suggests.

Perhaps the best news about this discovery is that it widens the window of treatment for stroke from a few hours to 24 hours, experts say.

Though it is too early to change patient care, should the results be confirmed in larger, placebo-controlled, double-blinded clinical trials, "it will be probably one of the most used and effective treatments of ischemic stroke that we have," said Dr. Argye Hillis, a professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

The drug in question is minocycline, a tetracycline derivative that has been used for years to fight bacterial infections. Over the past decade, the drug has also been shown to be effective in animal models of several neurological conditions, including Parkinson's, Huntington's and Lou Gehrig's diseases.

Dr. Yair Lampl, of Tel Aviv University, and his colleagues randomized 152 patients with acute ischemic stroke into two groups, one of which received 200 milligrams of minocycline a day for five days, while the other was given a placebo. Treatment was initiated between six and 24 hours after stroke onset.

At one week, one month and three months following stroke, patient recovery was significantly improved in the antibiotic group relative to the control group on each of three tests that collectively assess neurological damage due to stroke and the patient's ability to perform daily tasks such as grooming, dressing and going to the bathroom.

"Statistically, there's a pretty marked difference between the groups," said Dr. Eric Smith, associate director of Acute Stroke Services at Massachusetts General Hospital in
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