I recently received a guest blog form Drugwatch.com. They are new to me, but I feel information is always important so I decided to post this blog and let you decide. Medication decisions should be made with your personal doctor and be sure you are comfortable with the advice you are receiving. My rule of thumb is to listen to your doctor or get a second opinion.
Recovering from a Stroke.
More than 7 million people in the United States have survived a stroke. Some of these people are able to begin rehabilitation as early as two days after a stroke. A post-stroke treatment plan and medications can help prevent recurrent strokes. Approaching these decisions with patience and courage will assist families as they begin their first steps in the recovery process.
Types of Rehabilitation Facilities.
Finding an appropriate facility is based on the severity of the stroke and the resulting capabilities of each patient. The goal of rehabilitation for all stroke survivors is to improve one’s ability to function. Rehabilitation options are available at the following locations:
• A Rehabilitation Unit in the Hospital
• A Subacute Care Unit
• Home Therapy with or without Outpatient Therapy
• Long-Term Care Facility
Medication to Prevent Recurrent Strokes.
In addition to physical therapy, the recovery process is likely to include medication. Stroke prevention medication is important, as a second stroke may be more severe than the first and result in debilitating or fatal injuries. There are many medications available, but three categories of medication have proven to be effective for stroke prevention:
Anti-platelet Agents – These stop platelets, which are blood cells, from sticking together and forming blood clots. These are recommended for ischemic strokes, which occur when arteries are blocked. Anti-platelet agents include Aspirin, Plavix and Dipyridamole.
Anti-hypertensives – These reduce blood pressure, which lowers the risk of both ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes. Hemorrhagic strokes occur when there is bleeding in the brain. Anti-hypertensive drugs include Cozaar, Hyzaar and Micardis.
Anticoagulants – These reduce the risk of blood clots developing and prevent existing blood clots from getting bigger. Anticoagulants, commonly referred to as blood thinners, include Warfarin, Xarelto and Pradaxa.
Risks Associated with Blood Thinners
It’s important that patients recovering from a stroke, and their families, understand the risks associated with medications. Blood thinners can be particularly hazardous, as they inhibit the blood from clotting, allowing minor accidents to escalate and become life-threatening. Because of this danger, every effort must be made to avoid even small cuts and any activities that can lead to bruising and hemorrhaging.
[Note: The section below represents the opinion of Drug watch and I cannot confirm or deny that they are correct]
Pradaxa (dabigitran) puts patients at a greater risk than other blood thinners, as it has been linked to numerous bleeding incidents and heart problems. Unlike with warfarin, which responds to Vitamin K treatment in case of emergency, there is no antidote for bleeding when taking Pradaxa. In 2011, the drug was associated with 542 deaths. Studies also show an increased risk of heart failure and heart disease compared with warfarin.
Nearly 200 people have filed lawsuits against Pradaxa manufacturer, Boehringer Ingelheim, after experiencing side effects such as hemorrhaging. These have been consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois.
Alanna Ritchie is a content writer for Drugwatch.com, specializing in breaking news about prescription drugs, medical devices and consumer safety.