Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Benefit Of Aspirin For Healthy People Is Uncertain

Date:
June 2, 2009
Source:
University of Oxford
Summary:
A new study has shown that, while taking aspirin is beneficial in preventing heart attacks and strokes among people with established cardiovascular disease (secondary prevention), its benefits don't clearly outweigh the risks in healthy people (primary prevention).

A new study has shown that, while taking aspirin is beneficial in preventing heart attacks and strokes among people with established cardiovascular disease (secondary prevention), its benefits don’t clearly outweigh the risks in healthy people (primary prevention).
Credit: iStockphoto/Leigh Schindler

A new study has shown that, while taking aspirin is beneficial in preventing heart attacks and strokes among people with established cardiovascular disease (secondary prevention), its benefits don’t clearly outweigh the risks in healthy people (primary prevention).

Related Articles


Researchers at the Clinical Trial Service Unit at the University of Oxford analysed data from a number of primary and secondary prevention trials that had compared long-term aspirin use against controls. The findings are published in The Lancet.

In the primary prevention trials, aspirin reduced the risk of a non-fatal heart attack by about one fifth. This corresponds to five fewer such episodes each year for every 10,000 people treated. This is offset by a comparable increase in bleeds with long-term aspirin use. One extra stroke is caused by bleeding and three extra gastrointestinal bleeds occur each year per 10,000 treated.

In the secondary prevention studies, aspirin reduced the risk of a serious vascular event (a heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular death) by about a fifth. But the risk of an event is much higher among people with established cardiovascular disease, so that there were 150 fewer such events each year for every 10,000 patients treated. This large benefit greatly exceeds the risk of bleeding.

In both sets of trials, the risk of a serious vascular event was reduced to a similar degree in both men and women.

Previous reviews of primary prevention trials have led to guidelines recommending that aspirin be used widely among healthy people who are more at risk of coronary heart disease, having raised blood cholesterol or blood pressure for example.

But the new analyses show that many people with above average risk of coronary heart disease are also at above average risk of suffering a bleed, so this method of selecting whom to treat may not be appropriate.

Professor Colin Baigent, an MRC scientist who led the work at the Clinical Trial Service Unit, says: ‘The primary prevention trials were completed some years ago, when modern drugs such as statins were not widely available. Nowadays, primary prevention with statins and other drugs can safely half the risk of heart attacks and strokes.’

‘When aspirin is added to such drugs, the further reduction in serious vascular events is only about half as large as when it is used alone, but the bleeding risks will remain about the same. This has important implications when judging the likely effects of aspirin in practice.’

The authors conclude: ‘Aspirin is of clear benefit for people who already have cardiovascular disease, but the latest research does not seem to justify general guidelines advocating the routine use of aspirin in all healthy individuals above a moderate level of risk for coronary heart disease.’

When prescribing aspirin to healthy individuals, it is important to consider the potential of such a policy to cause harm. Professor Baigent adds: ‘Drug safety really matters when making recommendations for tens of millions of healthy people. We don’t have good evidence that, for healthy people, the benefits of long-term aspirin exceed the risks by an appropriate margin.’


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oxford. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Oxford. "Benefit Of Aspirin For Healthy People Is Uncertain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090531115613.htm>.
University of Oxford. (2009, June 2). Benefit Of Aspirin For Healthy People Is Uncertain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090531115613.htm
University of Oxford. "Benefit Of Aspirin For Healthy People Is Uncertain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090531115613.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

U.S. Ebola Response Measures Demonstrated

U.S. Ebola Response Measures Demonstrated

AP (Oct. 31, 2014) Officials in the Washington area showed off Ebola response measures being taken at Dulles International Airport and the National Institutes of Health. (Oct. 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

Fauci Says Ebola Risk in US "essentially Zero"

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) NIAID Director Anthony Fauci said the risk of Ebola becoming an epidemic in the U.S. is essentially zero Thursday at the Washington Ideas Forum. He also said an Ebola vaccine will be tested in West Africa in the next few months. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

Nurse Defies Ebola Quarantine With Bike Ride

AP (Oct. 30, 2014) A nurse who vowed to defy Maine's voluntary quarantine for health care workers who treated Ebola patients followed through on her promise Thursday, leaving her home for an hour-long bike ride. (Oct. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

Pot-Infused Edibles Raise Concerns in Colorado

AFP (Oct. 30, 2014) Colorado may have legalized marijuana for recreational use, but the debate around the decision still continues, with a recent - failed - attempt to ban cannabis-infused edibles. Duration: 01:53 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins