Stopping a daily aspirin routine increases heart attack risk

by Deborah Braconnier report
Coated aspirin tablets. Image: Wikimedia Commons.

(Medical Xpress) -- A new study published in the British Medical Journal suggests that people who have been diagnosed with heart disease and placed on a daily aspirin dose are at an increased risk of a heart attack if they stop taking the aspirin.

Low dose aspirin, usually in a dose range between 75 and 300 milligrams, are prescribed to patients to reduce the risk of and a possible . However, for many different reasons, half of these patients eventually stop this routine.

The researchers, led by Dr. Luis Garcia Rodriguez from the Spanish Center for Pharmacoepidemiologic Research, gathered data from located in a large database in the United Kingdom called the Health Improvement Network. They looked at 39,513 patients between the ages of 50 and 84 that had been prescribed low dose aspirin between 2000 and 2007.

What they discovered after a three year follow-up was that there was a 60 percent increase of a non-fatal heart attack in those patients who had discontinued taking their . This breaks down to about four heart attacks per 1,000 patients who cease taking their aspirin therapy.

Rodriguez emphasizes that patients should never stop taking their aspirin therapy unless directed to do so by their physician. This research shows how important just a tiny little pill once a day can make a big difference in decreasing the risk of another heart attack.

The authors believe that more research needs to be done to look at what reasons might be causing patients to stop their aspirin therapy. Researchers believe that reasons such as simply forgetting, not believing it is therapeutically beneficial or possible adverse reactions that are not being discussed with their physician could be behind the discontinuation of aspirin treatment.

They believe that more awareness needs to be made on the importance of adhering to an aspirin therapy treatment plan and advise all patients currently on aspirin therapy to make sure they take their aspirin every day to reduce their risk of another heart attack.

More information: Discontinuation of low dose aspirin and risk of myocardial infarction: case-control study in UK primary care, BMJ 2011; 343:d4094 doi: 10.1136/bmj.d4094 (Published 19 July 2011)

Related Stories

Aspirin in Heart Attack Prevention: How Much, How Long?

Jan 15, 2008

A low dose of aspirin appears to be just as effective as a higher dose in preventing a heart attack, stroke or death among patients with stable cardiovascular disease, say researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

Study: Aspirin good for men and women

Jan 17, 2006

A Duke University study suggests aspirin significantly reduces the risk of stroke, heart attack or death due to cardiovascular disease in men and women.

Recommended for you

Real-time volume imaging of hearts

17 hours ago

A new ultrasound system from Siemens enables doctors to carry out heart examinations through the esophagus for the first time. The system supplies 3D images of the heart as well as additional real-time information ...

Post-PCI bleeding rates vary widely across hospitals

Nov 27, 2014

(HealthDay)—Patient case-mix and procedural factors may contribute to wide variation in the hospital rates of bleeding after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), according to research published online ...

Most seniors eligible for statin Rx under new guidelines

Nov 25, 2014

(HealthDay)—Most older Americans qualify for treatment with statins under new guidelines for the treatment of blood cholesterol released late last year by the American College of Cardiology and the American ...

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.