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The Cochrane database of systematic reviews

Piracetam for acute ischaemic stroke.


PMID 10796359

Abstract

Piracetam has neuroprotective and antithrombotic effects which may help to reduce death and disability in people with acute stroke. The objective of this review was to assess the effects of piracetam in acute presumed ischaemic stroke. We searched the Cochrane Stroke Review Group trials register, Medline (from 1965), Embase (from 1980), BIDIS ISI (from 1981). We also contacted manufacturers and handsearched 15 journals. Randomised trials comparing piracetam with control, with at least mortality reported and entry to the trial within approximately 48 hours of stroke onset. Two reviewers extracted data and assessed trial quality and this was checked by the other two reviewers. Study authors were contacted for missing information. Three trials involving 1002 people were included, with one trial contributing 97% of the data. Participants' ages ranged from 40 to 85, and both sexes were equally represented. Piracetam was associated with a statistically non significant increase in death (31% increase, 95% confidence interval 81% increase to 5% reduction). This trend was no longer apparent in the large trial after correction for imbalance in stroke severity. Limited data showed no difference between the treatment and control groups for functional outcome, dependency or proportion of patients dead or dependent. Adverse effects were not reported. There is some suggestion of an unfavourable effect of piracetam on early death, but this may have been caused by baseline differences in stroke severity in the trials. Piracetam does not appear to reduce dependency for stroke patients.

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