A transient ischemic attack has the same origins as that of an ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke. In an ischemic stroke, a clot blocks the blood supply to part of your brain. In a transient ischemic attack, unlike a stroke, the blockage is brief, and there is no permanent damage. The underlying cause of a TIA often is a buildup of cholesterol-containing fatty deposits called plaques (atherosclerosis) in an artery or one of its branches that supplies oxygen and nutrients to your brain. Doctors use several medications to decrease the likelihood of a stroke after a transient ischemic attack.
The medication selected depends on the location, cause, severity and type of TIA. Two frequently prescribed types of drugs are: Anti-platelet drugs. These medications make your platelets, one of the circulating blood cell types, less likely to stick together. When blood vessels are injured, sticky platelets begin to form clots, a process completed by clotting proteins in blood plasma. The most frequently used anti-platelet medication is aspirin. Aspirin is also the least expensive treatment with the fewest potential side effects. An alternative to aspirin is the anti-platelet drug clopidogrel (Plavix). Your doctor may consider prescribing Aggrenox, a combination of low-dose aspirin and the anti-platelet drug dipyridamole, to reduce blood clotting. The way dipyridamole works is slightly different from aspirin. In our large, biracial population, we found the incidence of a single TIA to be 28,488, with age, race, and gender adjusted to the 1990 Israel population.