What Medications are Right for Stroke Patients

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 Neurologist, discusses What Medications are Right for Stroke Patients.

 Neurologist, discusses What Medications are Right for Stroke Patients.

Video transcript

Featuring Dr. Dean Johnston, MD, MHSc, FRCPC, Neurologist

What Medications are Right for Stroke Patients

Duration: 2 minutes, 15 seconds

If your doctor has identified treatable risk factors for stroke, they may offer you a number of medications.

Anti-hypertensive medications for elevated blood pressure can be used. Cholesterol-lowering medications to reduce the risk associated with elevated cholesterol.

And medications to reduce blood sugar are all available and may be chosen by your family doctor, depending on your particular risk factor profile. If a patient recognizes stroke symptoms and presents to the hospital emergency department urgently, within four-and-a-half hours, they may be eligible for a clot busting drug known as TPA.

This can only be given in an emergency department, and after a patient has had a CT scan. It can only be given within the first four-and-a-half hours of the onset of a stroke. If a patient is eligible for treatment and is treated, they’ll be admitted to the hospital, depending on the severity of their stroke.

They may then be seen by a number of other specialists, including neurologists, cardiologists, rehabilitation specialists, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists. Much of this is determined by the type and severity of stroke that they have experienced.

Part of the process of evaluating a patient after their stroke in hospital is to identify risk factors and conditions that can be treated to prevent recurrent stroke. One of the most important risk factors for stroke is atrial fibrillation.

This condition often goes unrecognized by patients until they present to the emergency department with a devastating stroke. Atrial fibrillation is a treatable condition, and we can virtually prevent stroke from atrial fibrillation by administering medications that thin the blood.

There are a number of these medications, and if you have concerns that you may have atrial fibrillation, you can discuss these with your physician. The medications that are typically used to prevent stroke and atrial fibrillation are called anticoagulants, and there are a number of different types of anticoagulants that are available.

Not all individuals with atrial fibrillation are eligible for anticoagulation, and this is an area that should be discussed with your family physician.

Presenter: Dr. Dean Johnston, Neurologist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Neurologist

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Quiz: Do You Understand the Neurology of a Stroke?


Hemorrhagic strokes are more common than ischemic strokes.


An ischemic stroke is more common and is caused by a blocked artery. Ischemic strokes are further divided into thrombotic strokes, which are caused by a blood clot that develops in the brain.


Hemorrhagic strokes are caused by a blood clot or plaque debris.


Hemorrhagic strokes are caused by a blood clot or plaque debris that develops in another part of the body and travels to the brain via the bloodstream. Hemorrhagic strokes are further divided into intracerebral hemorrhage and subarachnoid hemorrhage.


Numbness of the arm is not a symptom of stroke.


Stroke symptoms include difficulty walking, trouble speaking and understanding speech, slurring your words, vision problems, numbness or paralysis of the arm, face or leg and headache.


A mini-stroke is a temporary disruption of blood flow to the brain.


If you experience a transient ischemic attack (TIA), also called a mini-stroke, you experience a temporary disruption of blood flow to the brain.


Recovery from a stroke takes 10-20 days.


The recovery from a stroke is often a prolonged process, over many weeks or months.

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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