Thursday, July 21, 2011

Taking daily aspirin to prevent a heart attack? Don't stop, warn doctors

CBS) Doctors have long said taking daily low-dose aspirin helps prevent a myocardial infarction, or heart attack. But a new study warns these patients that they shouldn't stop taking aspirin- or they could die.

Spanish researchers report that patients who stop taking daily low-dose aspirin are 60 percent more likely to have a heart attack within a year.

"Unless there is a high risk of serious bleeding or otherwise recommended by a doctor, aspirin should never be discontinued," study author Dr. Luis A. Garcia Rodriguez, director of the Spanish Center for Pharmacoepidemiologic Research, told WebMD

For the study - published in the July 19 issue of British Medical Journal -researchers looked at data from a British medical records database on nearly 40,000 patients, 50 to 84 years old, who were prescribed 75 to 300 milligrams of daily aspirin. Patients were followed for three years to determine if those who stopped taking aspirin had a heart attack, or died from heart disease. The researchers found 876 patients had a heart attack, while another 346 died of heart disease. That translates to four additional heart attacks for every 1000 patients during the year they stop taking aspirin.

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