"There has been significant debate on whether giving aspirin to a patient who suffers from VTE is beneficial," lead author Dr. Cecilia Becattini, an assistant professor of internal medicine in the Internal and Cardiovascular Medicine and Stroke Unit at the University of Perugia, said in an ASH meeting news release. "Our study shows that aspirin, a common and low-cost drug found in most medicine cabinets, can be a valid alternative to oral anticoagulants for the extended treatment of VTE."
Experts reacted positively to the new findings.
"This is a very important trial demonstrating a safe and effective alternative to long-term warfarin to reduce the incidence of recurrent venous thromboembolism," said Dr. Robert Lookstein, director of cardiovascular imaging at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. "This trial shows that a simple medication such as once-a-day aspirin can safely reduce the risk of recurrent DVT and protect patients against these devastating consequences," he added.
But another expert noted an important caution. "It should be emphasized that this does not replace the initial treatment of VTE, which is heparin or warfarin anticoagulation," said Dr. Glenn Jacobowitz, vice-chair of the vascular surgery division at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. "In my practice I would consider recommending low-dose aspirin after warfarin anticoagulation courses are finished for VTE. Patients should ask their physician about switching to lifetime low-dose aspirin after finishing a standard six- to 12-month course of warfarin anticoagulation for VTE."
Data presented at medical meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
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