Completed Clinical Trial Offers New Hope for Stroke Patients

July 10, 2018

A new treatment regimen has proven to lower the risk of having a major, disabling stroke.


Recent results from the POINT (Platelet-Oriented Inhibition in New TIA) research study showed that a combination of the clot-preventing drug clopidogrel along with aspirin may reduce the risk of a major stroke after a small stroke or a TIA (transient ischemic attack, or “mini-stroke”).


The University of Arizona’s Emergency Medicine Research Center (AEMRC) participated in the study, along with 10 countries and 22 leading U.S. medical centers. The study was conducted by the Neurological Emergencies Treatment Trials Network (NETT).


A small stroke or transient ischemic attack is often a warning sign of an impending major stroke.

After a minor stroke, a patient has up to 15 percent chance of enduring a more severe stroke within the next three months. Clopidogrel, also known as Plavix, is a platelet inhibitor commonly used to treat heart attack or stroke or to prevent harmful blood clots. Researchers found that adding clopidogrel to the usual regimen of aspirin resulted in a 25 percent lower risk for experiencing a major stroke, heart attack, or death caused by the formation of blood clots within three months from the initial event.


The treatment regimen is not risk-free, however, and should only be instituted under the supervision of a physician.


The POINT trial was conducted between May 2010 and December 2017. The University of Texas at Austin was the study’s lead principal investigator. Researchers analyzed medical data from 269 worldwide sites on more than 4,800 adults who had a TIA or small stroke.


At the UA, patients were enrolled from Banner – University Medical Center Tucson, Phoenix and South, Chandler Regional Medical Center, and the University of New Mexico.


The results of the POINT clinical trial, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, will change how physicians treat stroke patients, said Kurt Denninghoff, MD, associate director of AEMRC, and NETT Hub principal investigator for the UA. “The significant results of this study will likely increase physicians prescribing the combination of clopidogrel and aspirin to their patients and will improve stroke care for years to come.”


The POINT trial was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, which is part of the National Institutes of Health. Original study: DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1800410.