Aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) is a devastating condition with high mortality. Proper management of this complex disease requires early surgical intervention followed by medical therapy. Pharmacological agents that unequivocally improve outcomes in aSAH are scarce.
The authors performed an exhaustive query of several databases including MEDLINE, the CENTRAL Register of Controlled Trials, and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews for specific evidence on key medications that have been used in the treatment of aSAH.
The bulk of the data available pertained to the following medications: calcium channel blockers, magnesium, statins, antifibrinolytics, aspirin, glucocorticoids, clazosentan, and tirilazad. Except for calcium channel blockers, the authors could not find any hard evidence that any of these agents affected outcome to a tangible degree. Aspirin may have some promise in prevention of aneurysm rupture and incidence of aSAH, but more substantive data are needed to conclusively corroborate this.
Investigational efforts to attain outcome-modifying agents have had dubious results, but the inquest for discovery should not discontinue.