How to Treat TIA
- Drugs that inhibit blood clot formation may be prescribed. Aspirin—the most commonly used antiplatelet agent—is usually tried first. More powerful anticoagulants such as warfarin and heparin may be warranted in some cases.
- Blood thinners drugs such as dipyridamole, Aggrenox, clopidogrel, heparin and warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven, generics) can be prescribed.
- Measures to control hypertension and blood cholesterol levels (including drug therapy) are undertaken if needed.
- Patients who have experienced one or more TIAs, who are healthy enough to have surgery and who show evidence of substantial atherosclerotic narrowing in the carotid arteries (the two main blood vessels in the neck supplying the brain) may be good candidates for carotid endarterectomy—a surgical procedure to clear away plaque deposits in the arteries. This technique is not appropriate for all patients, but in those who do qualify, it has been shown to reduce the risk of having a stroke in the future.
When to Call a Doctor
- If you experience the symptoms of a TIA, visit a doctor immediately. Do not ignore symptoms just because they go away by themselves.
- Seek treatment for any predisposing condition, such as hypertension, diabetes or heart disease.
- Don’t smoke.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
Johns Hopkins Symptoms and Remedies: The Complete Home Medical Reference
Simeon Margolis, M.D., Ph.D., Medical Editor
Prepared by the Editors of The Johns Hopkins Medical Letter: Health After 50
Updated by Remedy Health Media