In his analysis, Berger combined the data from six different randomized clinical trials, which yielded a total of 95,456 patients, none of whom had coronary artery disease. Of that total, 51,342 were women. The trials all involved the comparison of low-dose aspirin versus placebo for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.
The analysis revealed that aspirin conferred a 12 percent reduction in risk in cardiovascular events for women, and a 14 percent reduction for men.
"Our findings are particularly noteworthy in that aspirin's main beneficial effects appeared to be the reduction in the risk of stroke for women and reduction in the risk of heart attacks for men," Berger said. "While our analysis showed that aspirin may have different effects in men and women, the relatively small number of heart attacks among women and strokes among men suggest that more research is needed to better understand any differences in cardiovascular responses to aspirin."
Specifically, among the 51,342 women in the analysis, there were 625 strokes and 469 heart attacks. Among the 44,114 men, there were 597 strokes and 1,023 heart attacks.
However, the routine use of aspirin does not come without potential risks, especially in terms of major bleeding episodes. The analysis found that routine aspirin use for an average of 6.4 years would lead to 2.5 major bleeding events per 1,000 women and 3 major bleeding events per 1,000 men.
"For this reason, while we believe that many more people could benefit from taking aspirin, it is important for patients and their physicians to discuss the issue and weigh the benefits and potential drawbacks to this therapy," Berger said. "Also, aspirin should never replace other ways of reducing cardiovascular risks, such eating a proper diet and exercising."
Of the six randomized clinical trials involved in the a
Source:Duke University Medical Center