Often such patients can benefit from taking aspirin, researchers conclude. No reason exists for people not at risk, however, to take daily doses of the over-the-counter drug.
Both the study -- conducted by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Research Triangle Institute investigators -- and the task forces recommendation appear in the Jan. 15 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine, a medical journal. The new research complements a different study reported Jan. 11 in the British Medical Journal that focused on people who already suffered heart attacks and other high-risk patients.
Its been pretty well recognized that aspirin is helpful to people who have had heart attacks or strokes by preventing or delaying future cardiovascular events like these, said study leader Dr. Michael Pignone, assistant professor of medicine at the UNC School of Medicine. What has been unclear, however, is whether this was true for people who hadnt had heart problems, and now we think we know.
Researchers at the Evidence-Based Practice Center at UNC and RTI conducted the study for the task force, an independent body that develops preventive care recommendations. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality supports the RTI and UNC work.
Pignone, a fellow at UNCs Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, and colleagues reviewed the five previous large trials of aspirin in adults without cardiovascular disease.
They then combined and analyzed the data from the studies anew in what scientists call a meta-analysis. For the first time, the team tried to calculate how much risk patients had to
Contact: David Williamson
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill