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Aspirin Doesn't Guard Diabetics Against Heart Disease
Date:11/9/2008

aid Dr. Carl J. Lavie, medical director of cardiac rehabilitation at Ochsner Heart & Vascular Institute in New Orleans. "For some, the diabetes mellitus population does not seem to be gaining the expected aspirin benefit, at least in primary prevention. Certainly, there is proven aspirin benefit in secondary prevention. Right now, it would be hard to make a very strong case for low-dose aspirin, at least in the relatively healthy diabetic in primary prevention."

Indeed, the study authors themselves said that the role of aspirin as primary prevention in patients with type 2 diabetes is yet to be understood.

As with aspirin in the diabetic population, vitamin E and C supplements are widely used to prevent cardiovascular events, again without strong evidence to support the practice in low-risk individuals.

In the second study, 14,641 U.S. male doctors aged 50 or older were randomly assigned to receive 400 IU of vitamin E every other day and 500 milligrams of vitamin C every day or a placebo at the same intervals. The vast majority of participants had no history of cardiovascular disease.

After a mean follow-up of eight years, the researchers determined that neither vitamin had an effect on the incidence of major cardiovascular events or death, when compared with a placebo. This was true even of the 5.1 percent of men who had a history of cardiovascular disease.

There was, however, a 74 percent increase in the risk of hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke among men in the vitamin E group.

"Based on this and other studies, there is absolutely no reason for patients to be taking E for cardioprotection, and if they are doing so, we should encourage them to stop, as I have been doing for the last five years or so," Lavie said. "The jury has still been out about C, but this certainly indicates no benefit, although no definite harm."

A representative for the supplements industry took a different view.


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