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Aspirin recommendations changed for many younger diabetic patients
Date:6/1/2010

CORVALLIS, Ore. Experts are now recommending that low-dose aspirin therapy to prevent heart attacks be used somewhat more conservatively that men younger than 50 and women younger than 60, who have diabetes but no other major risk factors, probably not use aspirin.

The new recommendations are based on an analysis of nine studies, which found that the risks of some side effects such as stomach bleeding, and to a much less extent bleeding strokes, have to be better balanced against the potential benefits of using aspirin.

The findings are agreed upon by a panel of experts and endorsed by the American Diabetes Association, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology Foundation. They were just published online as a position statement in the journal Diabetes Care.

"The larger theme here is that use of low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attacks in people who have not already experienced one is probably not as efficacious as we used to believe it was," said Craig Williams, an associate professor in the College of Pharmacy at Oregon State University, and one of the experts on the recent review panel.

"With any medication, you have to balance the benefits against possible side effects or risks," Williams said. "But even a baby aspirin has some degree of risk, even though it's very low, so we have to be able to show clear benefits that outweigh that risk. In the case of young adults with diabetes but no other significant risk factors, it's not clear that the benefits are adequate to merit use of aspirin."

Aspirin first came to attention for its clear value in acute situations, or people experiencing a heart attack and immediately taking an aspirin. Later it was believed that regular low-doses of aspirin, which act as an anti-coagulant or blood thinner, may have value for people who have risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure, smoking, a family history of cardiovascular dise
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Contact: Craig Williams
williacr@ohsu.edu
503-494-1598
Oregon State University
Source:Eurekalert

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