Monday December 17, 2018

Aspirin- Risks and Benefits

Biggest Studies on Aspirin Show Risks Outweigh Benefits for Many People

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Aspirin, Ovarian cancer
Aspirin pills are arranged on a counter in New York, Aug. 23, 2018. New studies find most people won't benefit from taking daily low-dose aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke. (VOA)
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Doctors have long recommended that people who have had a heart attack or stroke take a daily low-dose aspirin to help prevent further heart problems. Now major research has tested whether aspirin can help prevent first-time heart problems. The results of three separate studies show it cannot.

One study looked at more than 12,000 patients at moderate risk of heart problems because of other health issues, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or smoking. The results showed no benefit.

Doctor J. Michael Gaziano of Brigham and Women’s Hospital suggests that is because those people already were taking other medications that lowered their risk.

“Risk that a person has changes over time, and some of that change is due to some of the things that we do, like managing their risk factors and taking care of them when they develop symptoms,” Gaziano said.

Dr. Jane Armitage of the University of Oxford led another study of more than 15,000 adults with diabetes that found the benefits of aspirin were outweighed by a greater risk of serious bleeding.

“We also saw almost a 30 percent increased risk in major bleeding,” Armitage said. “So that was bleeding bad enough to get you into hospital. Mainly from the gut, or bleeding into the eye or the brain and if it was into the eye, it was bad enough to threaten your sight.”

Based on results of the studies, disclosed over the weekend at the European Society of Cardiology, doctors say aspirin best benefits patients who already have heart disease. (VOA)

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Aspirin Considered Safe in Lowering Bowel Cancer Risk

Importantly, treatment with aspirin and EPA was safe with no increased bleeding risk

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Aspirin, Ovarian cancer
Aspirin pills are arranged on a counter in New York, Aug. 23, 2018. New studies find most people won't benefit from taking daily low-dose aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke. (VOA)

Intake of aspirin and omega-3 is safe and effective at reducing chances of bowel cancer in high-risk patients, according to a new clinical trial.

In the trial, published in the journal The Lancet, these low-cost drugs reduced the number of pre-cancerous polyps — a small growth, usually benign — in patients found to be at high risk of developing bowel cancer.

The findings showed that patients who took aspirin had 22 per cent fewer polyps compared to those who took the placebo.

Those who took omega-3, also called EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) had 9 per cent fewer polyps compared to those who took the placebo.

Although aspirin and EPA had beneficial effects on polyp numbers individually, the combination of aspirin and EPA together appeared to have an even greater effect, as it provided another layer of prevention, alongside colonoscopy, the researchers said.

“The trial demonstrates that both aspirin and EPA have preventative effects, which is particularly exciting given that they are both relatively cheap and safe compounds to give to patients,” said Mark Hull, Professor at the University of Leeds in the UK.

In the trial the team included over 700 patients, all of whom had a higher risk of developing bowel cancer after having a colonoscopy.

Previous research has shown that obesity and high-fat diets both together and independently increase the risk of pancreatic cancer.
Aspirin and omega-3 safe, lower bowel cancer risk: Study. Pixabay

Participants took either a 300 milligram aspirin tablet, 2 grams EPA in four capsules, a combination of both aspirin and EPA, or placebos only.

The results showed both aspirin and omega-3 reduced the number of bowel polyps in patients one year on from a screening colonoscopy (large bowel camera test).

However, they did not reduce the chances of an individual having any polyps present in the bowel.

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Importantly, treatment with aspirin and EPA was safe with no increased bleeding risk.

However, individuals who took EPA on its own had a slight increase in stomach upset symptoms.

Further research is needed to test aspirin and EPA treatment together for polyp prevention, the researchers noted. (IANS)