Cross-Border Trial Working To Reduce Stroke Rates

A cross-border clinical trial is exploring whether a cheap, already available drug, could reduce rates of repeated strokes.

The European CONVINCE study has been extended to examine around 200 stroke survivors in border areas in the hope of determining whether colchicine – a medication typically used to treat gout – could help reduce the risk of further strokes.

A stroke is a brain attack which happens when part of the blood supply is cut off. Globally, stroke is the leading cause of death and disability. Local patients who have suffered a stroke or Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), also known as a mini-stroke, will be included in the trial.

Around 4,000 people are affected in Northern Ireland year, with a quarter of these resulting in death.

The study was extended following a funding boost of over £600,000 by the Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland, the Stroke Association, and the Health Research Board in the Republic of Ireland.

Dr Janice Bailie, Assistant Director of the Research and Development Division at Public Health Agency said the project could potentially make a real difference to the lives of stroke survivors across the island of Ireland and further afield.
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"This study provides an opportunity for stroke survivors currently living in Northern Ireland and the Irish border counties to take part in a large-scale European research project, and we look forward to seeing the results when the study is completed," Dr Bailie commented.

Barry Macaulay, Northern Ireland Director at the Stroke Association said: "When stroke strikes life changes instantly. Recovery is tough and can be made much more difficult for some stroke survivors who live in fear of having another stroke."

Participating stroke survivors living in Irish and Northern Irish border areas join a larger study taking place at locations across Europe including the UK, Spain, Greece, Germany, Belgium, Estonia, Lithuania and the Netherlands. Half of the trial participants will be treated with the medicine, colchicine, as well as receiving usual care, while half will receive usual care without the medicine.

Previous trials found that heart attack survivors treated with colchicine had fewer heart attacks and strokes, compared to those who didn't receive the medication. The CONVINCE trial hopes to reveal whether the same medication could reduce the risk of stroke survivors having further strokes.


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