Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Aspirin: more people can benefit

Taking aspirin to prevent coronary heart disease is beneficial and cost-effective for a wider range of men than is often recognized, a study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has found.

Compared to no treatment, taking aspirin was less costly and more effective for preventing heart attacks and other events in men whose 10-year risk for coronary heart disease was 7.5 percent or greater. Before this analysis, most experts felt aspirin was beneficial in men with a 10-year risk of heart disease of 10 percent or greater, "Our analysis suggests that it is also beneficial for men between 5 percent and 10 percent risk."

The study also found that adding a statin, or cholesterol-lowering, drug to aspirin therapy became cost-effective only when the patient's 10-year risk for coronary heart disease was higher than 10 percent. "People should find out their cardiovascular risk and make decisions about preventive treatment based on that risk.

The study also showed that aspirin was not effective for men whose 10-year risk was below 5 percent, because the chance of adverse effects from bleeding cancelled the benefit from prevention of coronary heart disease events.

Is your chance for getting heart disease above 5% over the next 10 years? Click here to find out. (The test is for those who have not been diagnosed with heart disease.)

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