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Baby and coated aspirin equally effective in thinning of blood when taken in combination with Plavix

Aspirin dose and type may not matter when taken in combination with Plavix for the purpose of thinning blood and possibly reducing the risk of stroke in people with cerebrovascular disease, according to research presented today at the American Stroke Association's 29th International Stroke Conference. The American Stroke Association is a division of the American Heart Association.

Northwestern Memorial researchers previously reported that the majority of patients who took baby or enteric-coated aspirin alone to prevent strokes were not getting the desired blood-thinning effects, causing concern among patients who chose to take coated or baby aspirin because of their reduced risk of gastrointestinal side effects.

"That's why we decided to study the efficacy of aspirin - in various doses and formulations - when taken in combination with Plavix," explains Mark J. Alberts, M.D., director of the stroke program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital and the study's lead author. "Plavix is a prescription antiplatelet medication that helps keep platelets in the blood from sticking together and forming clots. Plavix has fewer gastrointestinal side effects than adult-dose aspirin."

"While research has shown that the combined use of aspirin and Plavix provides an enhanced blood-thinning effect for patients trying to reduce their risk of vascular events, the optimal dose and formulation is unclear," according to Dr. Alberts. "This study is significant in that it continues to point researchers in the right direction - showing how we can maximize the effectiveness and safety of aspirin when used to reduce the risk of stroke."

Northwestern Memorial investigators collected data on aspirin dose, type (coated or uncoated), and demographic factors on a total of 69 in-patients and out-patients with cerebrovascular disease, including ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attacks (TIAs). Antiplatelet effects of aspirin were measured using a machine abo
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Contact: Patty Keiler
pkeiler@nmh.org
312-926-5900
Northwestern Memorial Hospital
5-Feb-2004


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