Adjunctive cytoprotective therapies in acute ischemic stroke: a systematic review

I. A. Mulder*, E. T. van Bavel, H. E. de Vries, J. M. Coutinho

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


With the introduction of endovascular thrombectomy (EVT), a new era for treatment of acute ischemic stroke (AIS) has arrived. However, despite the much larger recanalization rate as compared to thrombolysis alone, final outcome remains far from ideal. This raises the question if some of the previously tested neuroprotective drugs warrant re-evaluation, since these compounds were all tested in studies where large-vessel recanalization was rarely achieved in the acute phase. This review provides an overview of compounds tested in clinical AIS trials and gives insight into which of these drugs warrant a re-evaluation as an add-on therapy for AIS in the era of EVT. A literature search was performed using the search terms “ischemic stroke brain” in title/abstract, and additional filters. After exclusion of papers using pre-defined selection criteria, a total of 89 trials were eligible for review which reported on 56 unique compounds. Trial compounds were divided into 6 categories based on their perceived mode of action: systemic haemodynamics, excitotoxicity, neuro-inflammation, blood–brain barrier and vasogenic edema, oxidative and nitrosative stress, neurogenesis/-regeneration and -recovery. Main trial outcomes and safety issues are summarized and promising compounds for re-evaluation are highlighted. Looking at group effect, drugs intervening with oxidative and nitrosative stress and neurogenesis/-regeneration and -recovery appear to have a favourable safety profile and show the most promising results regarding efficacy. Finally, possible theories behind individual and group effects are discussed and recommendation for promising treatment strategies are described.
Original languageEnglish
Article number46
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

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