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Researchers focus on secondary stroke prevention after study reveals room for improvement
Date:9/12/2011

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. September 12, 2011 A year after hospital discharge, the majority of stroke patients are listening to doctor's orders when it comes to taking their prescribed secondary stroke prevention medications, new data out of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center shows. However, there is room for improvement, according to investigators.

"Medication non-compliance is a major risk factor for stroke and heart disease, and we know that non-compliance with stroke prevention medications increases over the year or two after a stroke," said Cheryl D. Bushnell, M.D., M.H.S., director of the Wake Forest Baptist Stroke Center and lead author on the study. "This study revealed that the majority of patients are compliant in taking their medications, but it also showed us specific vulnerabilities from the patient's perspective that might explain why some patients stop medications. We found that there's a large opening for us to focus efforts towards even better compliance. Specifically, we as providers need to continue educating patients over the long term and not just the first time a medication is started."

Although the risk of a second stroke is highest within the first three months after an initial stroke, the risk is about eight percent in the first year, and five percent per year after that, according to the study. So taking secondary prevention medications long term is critical for preventing a second stroke, which is likely to be even more devastating than the first, Bushnell added.

Nearly 700,000 people in the United States have ischemic strokes each year, and about 160,000 of these events are recurrent,* according to the study, published online this week by the journal Neurology. It is scheduled to appear in the September 20 print issue.

The Adherence eValuation After Ischemic stroke-Longitudinal (AVAIL) Registry aims to collect data on long-term use of secondary prevention medications for one year followin
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Contact: Jessica Guenzel
jguenzel@wakehealth.edu
336-716-3487
Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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