Patients who stopped aspirin had a 37% higher risk of cardiovascular events.
A large-scale Swedish study (600,000) of low-dose aspirin users found risk for cardiovascular events rose significantly after discontinuation. Risk increased soon after stopping and continued over time. (This study was partially funded by industry.)
PositiveTip: Think carefully before stopping low-dose aspirin therapy.
Read it again carefully: Aspirin is not a miracle drug. Recent international news flashes are touting the “protective effect” of aspirin against melanoma in females. Aspirin has previously been announced as “preventative” in breast cancer, colon cancer, and prostate cancer. Please note again: Aspirin is NOT a miracle drug. Aspirin does NOT prevent cancer.
Aspirin does one thing very well. Aspirin blocks the function of cyclooxygenase, an enzyme in the body that is required to produce Thromboxane A2 and certain Prostaglandins. Why is that helpful?
Dr. Ron Atchison, internist, waited outside his patient’s room while the current group of medical students and residents filed out behind him. He motioned them to follow him down the hall to a small conference room. When they had all crowded in, he spoke.
“This is just for the medical students. The rest of you hold your peace,” he said. His chief resident and the first year resident smiled at each other and settled in the corner chairs. “Okay, any one, what did you see in there, just now?” Dr. Atchison leaned against the wall, eyeing the medical students.
Mary Hall, a fourth year student spoke up. “A 67-year-old female with episodes of non-cardiac chest pain, probably esophagitis based on her rapid response to antacids and repeat negative cardiac enzymes, hypertension, high cholesterol and triglycerides, border-line high blood sugar and mildly obese . . . and . . .” Mary paused, knowing there was something more she should say.
I like really big population studies. The conclusions reached are valid and extremely accurate. Small studies with few participants are subject to many types of bias. The results of small studies are often debatable and not dependable.
The second Nurses’ Health Study enrolled 83,882 adult women 27-44 years of age. At the beginning of the study in 1991, all these women had normal blood pressure, (systolic 120 or less and diastolic 80 or less), and no diabetes, heart disease or cancer. These women were followed for 14 years through 2005. During the study, 12, 319 women developed high blood pressure and the rest didn’t.