cartoon graphic, balancing and juggling medicationsTaking many medications over the course of a day can be confusing. For medications to work they need to be taken at the right time and in the correct amount. Not taking your medicine or taking too much can be harmful; you might get sicker.

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Understanding the benefits of your medications and why they are ordered to be taken at particular times can help you better remember to take them.

To better understand your medications ask your Healthcare Professional or Pharmacist the following questions:
  • What is the medicine’s name and what is it for?
  • When and how do I take this medicine?
  • What are the possible side effects?
  • When should I expect the medicine to start working?
  • Will the medicine interact with any of my other medicines?
  • Is it okay to take this medicine with my supplements (e.g., vitamins, omega-3, etc.)?
  • What should my medicine look like?
  • What do I do if I forget my dose?
  • What will happen if I stop taking this medicine altogether?
  • Besides time of day, is there anything else I should know about taking my meds (e.g., on a full stomach, with milk, etc.)?
  • Are there foods I need to avoid when taking this medicine?

Download a printer-friendly version of these questions.

Stroke-Related Medications—following is information about some of the common medications that are prescribed following a stroke.

Drug Class What They Do Examples
Anticoagulants Reduce the risk of blood clots and prevent existing blood clots from getting bigger by thinning the blood Heparin ®, Pradaxa ®, Coumadin ®
Antiplatelets Prevent platelets (blood cells) from sticking together Plavix ®, Aggrenox ®, Persantine ®, Ticlid ®
Angiotensin II receptor antagonists Block angiotensin II, a chemical that triggers muscle contraction around blood vessels, narrowing them. By inhibiting the chemical, blood vessels can enlarge and blood pressure is reduced. Micardis ®, Cozaar ®, Hyzaar ® 
GABA (gamma-Amino butyric acid) receptor antagonists Inhibit the action of GABA, which inhibits neurotransmitters and regulates the nervous system. Kemstro™, Gablofen ®, Lioresal ®
Miscellaneous central nervous system agents Affect physiological and psychological processes in the central nervous system Nuedexta™
Neurotoxins Interact with proteins in nerves to relax muscles Botox ®
Statins Lower cholesterol by inhibiting the enzyme in the blood that produces cholesterol in the liver Lipitor ®, Crestor ®, Zocor ®, Mevacor ®, Lescol ®
Thrombolytics Break up blood clots Activase ®

One of the best ways to manage your medications is to use tools to help you remember to take them.
  • Set reminders on your phone or an alarm to remind you when a dose is due.
  • Use pill boxes to organize your medications by day and time of day.
  • Make sure your family members and caregivers know and understand your medication needs.
  • One of the best ways to manage your medications is stay organized with a medication tracker.

Download, print and personalize the Medication Tracker.

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Medication Assistance Programs, also known as patient assistant programs, can help you pay for medications that you have been prescribed.

Generic Name Brand Name Assistance Program Class Condition It Treats
Atorvastatin calcium Lipitor ® Pfizer Statin High cholesterol
Baclofen Kemstro™, Gablofen ®, Lioresal ® Medtronic Inc. (Contact information only) GABA receptor antagonist Spasticity
OnabotulinumtoxinA Botox ® Allergan Neurotoxin Upper limb spasticity and incontinence
IncobotulinumtoxinA Xeomin® Merz Neurotoxin Adult upper limb spasticity, cervical dystonia, blepharospasm
Dextromethorphan hydrobromide and quinidine sulfate Nuedexta™ Avanir Miscellaneous central nervous system agent Pseudobulbar affect (PBA)
Dipryidamole Persantine ® Boehringer Ingelheim Antiplatelet Prevents blood clots
Aspirin/Extended-release dipyridamole Aggrenox ® Boehringer Ingelheim Antiplatelet Prevents blood clots
Clopidogrel bisulfate Plavix ® Bristol-Myers Squibb Antiplatelet Prevents blood clots
Dabigatran etexilate Pradaxa ® Boehringer Ingelheim Anticoagulant Atrial fibrillation (Afib)
Losartan potassium Cozaar ® Merck Angiotensin II receptor antagonist High blood pressure
Rosuvastatin calcium Crestor ® AstraZeneca Statin High cholesterol
Telmisartan Micardis ® Boehringer Ingelheim Angiotensin II receptor antagonist High blood pressure
Ticlopidine hydrochloride Ticlid ® Roche Laboratories Antiplatelet Prevents blood clots
Alteplase Activase ®—Also known as tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) Genentech Thrombolytics Breaks down blood clots
Warfarin Coumadin ®, Jantoven ®, Marevan ® Bristol-Myers Squibb Anticoagulant Prevents blood clots

National Stroke Association does not endorse or recommend any specific treatment or medication for stroke prevention, clinical care, or post-stroke conditions. For advice and recommendations regarding medications or treatments, please contact your healthcare provider directly.