redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports – Your Universe Online
Using aspirin for cardiovascular health remains a popular preventative medicine regimen for many people, even though recent studies have suggested that the popular pain killer might not be as beneficial as previously believed, according to new research published in the journal Canadian Family Physician.
Study authors Olga Szafran and Mike Kolber of the University of Alberta´s Department of Family Medicine polled patients over the age of 50 from two Alberta-based clinics.
They discovered that more than 40 percent of those individuals took daily doses of aspirin in order to prevent a heart attack, stroke, or similar cardiovascular ailment.
“A lot of this comes from many years ago where they did this study on physicians and it showed that physicians who take Aspirin seem to do better than those who don’t,” Kolber said in a statement.
“The problem is, physicians aren’t a generalized group of people, physicians are healthier and they’re educated,” he added. “All the literature that’s been coming out over the last three to five years, said Aspirin for primary prevention really doesn’t change long-term mortality.”
In addition, the researchers also found that 62 percent of those individuals who have cardiovascular disease are also taking the anti-inflammatory medication each day.
They refer to this style of treatment as secondary prevention, and unlike the previous group — who are practicing what is known as primary prevention — this group actually benefits from a regular aspirin regiment, they report.
“I think the hope is that this paper will sensitize physicians to their own practice and create a growing awareness of the issue,” Szafran said.
“If we can get it out there and ensure physicians and patients have the discussion, perhaps we could shift the use a little bit,” added Kolber. “Discuss the importance, if you have cardiovascular disease, of taking an anti-platelet like Asprin, and probably less important if you don’t have an event, to be taking that.”
According to the US National Library of Medicine (NLM), nonprescription aspirin can be used to prevent heart attacks in those who have already had one and those who have angina, or chest pains resulting from a lack of oxygen to the heart.
The drug can also be used to reduce the fatality risk of those who are experiencing or have recently experienced a heart attack, and is capable of preventing some types of stroke, including those that occur when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain, they explained.