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Research focus on aspirin

(BETHESDA, MD) No other medicine is as common, inexpensive, and yet powerful in so many ways as aspirin; yet despite a century of experience with the drug, researchers are still learning important new lessons, while raising new questions, according to seven special articles in the Sept. 20, 2005, issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

As Franz H. Messerli, M.D., F.A.C.C., from St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York, noted in an editorial, "Today, about 50,000 tons of acetylsalicylic acid are produced every year across the globe. If this entire output were pressed into 500 mg tablets, it would amount to 100 billion tablets every year."

Dr. Messerli also remarked, "[W]ere aspirin discovered today, it would probably not pass muster at the Food and Drug Administration for any indication without a black box warning."

Aspirin May Be Safer than Thought for Heart Failure Patients with Coronary Artery Disease

Although aspirin is strongly recommended for most people at high risk for heart attacks, there have been concerns it may be harmful for heart failure patients, because aspirin might interfere with ACE inhibitor treatment or it might worsen hypertension or kidney problems. However, the largest study of the issue, a new analysis of Medicare records on 24,012 patients who had been hospitalized for heart failure with coronary artery disease, indicates that those prescribed aspirin (54 percent of the total) fared as well or better than those not prescribed aspirin.

"This study suggests that aspirin use in patients with coronary artery disease and coexisting heart failure is not harmful and may result in lower mortality rates. Furthermore, there was no evidence that aspirin use attenuated the beneficial effects of ACE inhibitors," said Frederick A. Masoudi, M.D., M.S.P.H., F.A.C.C., from the Denver Health Medical Center and the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, Colo. and the
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Contact: Anne Dees
adees@acc.org
301-581-3406
American College of Cardiology
15-Sep-2005


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