Aspirin improves survival in women with stable heart disease, study

March 12, 2009

New results from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Observational Study provide additional evidence that aspirin may reduce the risk of death in postmenopausal women who have heart disease or who have had a stroke. Jacques Rossouw, M.D., chief of the Women's Health Initiative Branch at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), is available to comment on these findings. NHLBI, part of the National Institutes of Health, funded the research.

The study also provides new insight into dosing for , suggesting that a lower dose of aspirin (81 milligrams, or mg) is as effective as a higher dose (325 mg). This is good news for women who might be concerned with internal bleeding, a well-known risk of aspirin that may be more likely with higher doses of aspirin, according to other studies. However, randomized clinical trials are needed to determine the optimal doses of aspirin in women with .

"Aspirin Use, Dose, and Clinical Outcomes in with Stable Cardiovascular Disease - The Women's Health Initiative Observational Study," appears in the March issue of the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes and was published online March 5, 2009.

Scientific evidence indicates that, in general, aspirin lowers the risk of death and incidence of and stroke in patients with a history of cardiovascular disease; however, the benefits of aspirin in women with stable cardiovascular disease in particular are unknown. In this study, researchers analyzed data from 8,928 postmenopausal women who had previously had a heart attack, stroke or (TIA, or mini-stroke), angina, or angioplasty or coronary bypass surgery to improve blood flow. Participants were followed for an average of 6.5 years.

Compared to those who did not report taking aspirin, regular aspirin users had a 25 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease and a 14 percent lower risk of death from any cause. Overall, aspirin use did not significantly decrease the risk of heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular events, except among women in their seventies. There were no significant differences in death rates or other outcomes between women taking 81 mg of aspirin compared to those taking 325 mg.

The size of the WHI Observational Study and the diversity of participants provide valuable insight into the use of medications in the primary care setting. For example, the study found that only 46 percent of women with stable cardiovascular disease in the study reported taking aspirin regularly, despite current guidelines recommendations. In addition, subgroup analyses indicate that black women and women with Medicaid insurance were less likely to use aspirin as recommended, compared to women of other ethnic groups and insurance status.

Source: NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Study suggests ending opioid epidemic will take years

July 20, 2017
The question of how to stem the nation's opioid epidemic now has a major detailed response. A new study chaired by University of Virginia School of Law Professor Richard Bonnie provides extensive recommendations for curbing ...

Team-based model reduces prescription opioid use among patients with chronic pain by 40 percent

July 17, 2017
A new, team-based, primary care model is decreasing prescription opioid use among patients with chronic pain by 40 percent, according to a new study out of Boston Medical Center's Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine, which ...

Private clinics' peddling of unproven stem cell treatments is unsafe and unethical

July 7, 2017
Stem cell science is an area of medical research that continues to offer great promise. But as this week's paper in Science Translational Medicine highlights, a growing number of clinics around the globe, including in Australia, ...

Popular heartburn drugs linked to higher death risk

July 4, 2017
Popular heartburn drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been linked to a variety of health problems, including serious kidney damage, bone fractures and dementia. Now, a new study from Washington University School ...

Most reproductive-age women using opioids also use another substance

June 30, 2017
The majority of reproductive-age and pregnant women who use opioids for non-medical purposes also use at least one other substance, ranging from nicotine or alcohol to cocaine, according to a University of Pittsburgh Graduate ...

At-risk chronic pain patients taper opioids successfully with psychological tools

June 28, 2017
Psychological support and new coping skills are helping patients at high risk of developing chronic pain and long-term, high-dose opioid use taper their opioids and rebuild their lives with activities that are meaningful ...

0 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.