After a stroke or transient ischaemic attack (TIA) there is a high risk of stroke, particularly in the early days and weeks, and of other serious vascular events. Several preventive medical treatments can reduce these risks; starting them as early as possible will maximise the absolute risk reduction, as long as the diagnosis is secure, there is no known or suspected net harm from treatment, and they are acceptable to the patient. Medical treatments with clear evidence of benefit include: lowering blood pressure after all types of stroke or TIA; lowering blood cholesterol with a statin after ischaemic stroke or TIA; antiplatelet treatment after ischaemic stroke or TIA; and warfarin instead of antiplatelet treatment in patients with ischaemic stroke or TIA who have atrial fibrillation and no contraindications to anticoagulation. Lifestyle changes (for example, stopping smoking, reducing excess alcohol intake, adopting a healthy diet) and careful management of diabetes are also important.
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Funding: The author was supported by a Wellcome Trust Clinician Scientist Award (063688).