Efficacy of Antiplatelet Therapy in Secondary Prevention Following Lacunar Stroke
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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Lacunar stroke accounts for ≈25% of ischemic stroke, but optimal antiplatelet regimen to prevent stroke recurrence remains unclear. We aimed to evaluate the efficacy of antiplatelet agents in secondary stroke prevention after a lacunar stroke. METHODS: We searched MEDLINE, Embase, and the Cochrane library for randomized controlled trials that reported risk of recurrent stroke or death with antiplatelet therapy in patients with lacunar stroke. We used random effects meta-analysis and evaluated heterogeneity with I(2). RESULTS: We included 17 trials with 42,234 participants (mean age 64.4 years, 65% male) and follow up ranging from 4 weeks to 3.5 years. Compared with placebo, any single antiplatelet agent was associated with a significant reduction in recurrence of any stroke (risk ratio [RR] 0.77, 0.62-0.97, 2 studies) and ischemic stroke (RR 0.48, 0.30-0.78, 2 studies), but not for the composite outcome of any stroke, myocardial infarction, or death (RR 0.89, 0.75-1.05, 2 studies). When other antiplatelet agents (ticlodipine, cilostazol, and dipyridamole) were compared with aspirin, there was no consistent reduction in stroke recurrence (RR 0.91, 0.75-1.10, 3 studies). Dual antiplatelet therapy did not confer clear benefit over monotherapy (any stroke RR 0.83, 0.68-1.00, 3 studies; ischemic stroke RR 0.80, 0.62-1.02, 3 studies; composite outcome RR 0.90, 0.80-1.02, 3 studies). CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that any of the single antiplatelet agents compared with placebo in the included trials is adequate for secondary stroke prevention after lacunar stroke. Dual antiplatelet therapy should not be used for long-term stroke prevention in this stroke subtype.
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