NYU Langone doctors prescribe medications for most people with mild or moderate carotid artery disease that has caused no symptoms of stroke or ministroke, such as blurred vision or slurred speech.
Daily aspirin or other types of blood thinners may help to prevent blood clots in people with carotid artery disease, especially in people who have had a stroke. Clots can form in people with atherosclerosis when pieces of the plaque blocking the artery break open, or rupture. This causes platelets in the blood to clump together and clot at the site of the blockage. These small clots, clumps of platelets, or pieces of plaque can break off and travel, or embolize, to the brain, possibly leading to a stroke.
To reduce the risk of embolization, antiplatelet medications, such as aspirin, may be recommended for people at risk of developing atherosclerosis. Surgical treatment may be recommended for people at high risk of stroke.