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Anticoagulants better for stroke prevention in older people

GPs should consider shifting older patients from antiplatelet to anticoagulant therapies to prevent stroke, according to study led by Canadian researchers.

The analysis of nearly 9,000 patients with atrial fibrillation found antiplatelet and anticoagulant therapies reduced the risk of ischaemic stroke by substantially differing amounts - 19% and 64% respectively.

The effectiveness of antiplatelet therapies significantly decreased as patients aged, whereas it did not change for oral anticoagulant therapies.

Stroke 2009, 29 January early online publication

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