May 26, 2000
Volume XXXIII, No. 21

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Ancrod shown to have favorable effect for treating stroke

Patients with acute ischemic stroke treated with ancrod, an anticoagulation agent, had favorable neurological outcomes at 90 days after stroke, according to an article that appeared in the May 10 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dr. David Sherman, a professor in the Department of Medicine, was one of the investigators conducting the Stroke Treatment with Ancrod Trial (STAT), designed to investigate the efficacy and safety of ancrod in patients with acute ischemic stroke. Ancrod is purified venom derived from the Malaysian pit viper. This drug induces rapid defibrinogenation, which affects blood coagulation.

To determine the efficacy of the treatment, researchers measured patients' need for help in daily activities 90 days following the stroke. Investigators found favorable functional status was achieved by more patients in the ancrod group than in the placebo group.

The interval between the onset of symptoms and the initiation of therapy is a critical issue in the treatment of stroke. The STAT study was designed to treat patients within three hours of onset of symptoms.

Ancrod has been used in Europe and Canada since the 1970s as reperfusion therapy for clinical conditions such as peripheral vascular disease, deep vein thrombosis and central retinal venous thrombosis. At present ancrod is being marketed only in Canada.

The American Medical Association contributed to this article.