(CINCINNATI) -- The effects of a stroke can be reduced if a clot-busting drug is administered right after the onset of stroke symptoms. A new study show that the use of these drugs have been on the rise, but the frequency is still low.
An acute ischemic stroke is caused by a blood clot in the brain.
Clot-busting drugs such as tPA help restore blood flow to the brain. They are most effective in reducing the effects of a stroke when the victim is treated soon after stroke symptoms begin -- ideally within the first hour.
The University of Cincinnati study published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association found that the use of clot-busting drugs more than doubled between 2005 and 2009.
Using information compiled from medicare records and pharmacy billing codes, researchers determined that the number of stroke patients who actually received a tPA tripled during that period -- from 1.2 percent in 2005 to 3.6 percent in 2009.
The study authors say without a doubt this is progress, a move in the right direction.
However, just 36,000 of the 700,000 Americans who had a stroke in 2009 were given tPA. So clot-busting drugs are still a long way from being a commonly provided treatment.
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