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Low-dose aspirin recommended for diabetes patients

Already known as an effective oral medication for minor aches and pains as well as for the primary and secondary prevention of heart attacks and strokes, aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) in low doses is now also recommended to prevent a first myocardial infarction or stroke in diabetes patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease.

According to a joint statement released by the American Diabetes Association, American College of Cardiology, and American Heart Association, the aspirin recommendation is subject to a qualifying guideline that includes men with diabetes aged 50 years or older and women with diabetes aged 60 or older who have additional cardiovascular risk factors and no excess bleeding risk.

“Because the relative risk reduction appears to be modest, the panel felt that we are on strongest ground recommending aspirin for those at increased cardiovascular disease risk, defined by the age categories and risk factors mentioned or by a calculation of CVD risk,” Dr. Michael Pignone, chief of the general medicine division and professor of medicine at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill points out. “We felt that the benefits were likely to exceed the downsides, such as gastrointestinal bleeding, for the groups mentioned. There will be some younger people with sufficient risk to warrant aspirin, but many who are not at sufficient risk.”

The statement qualifies, however, that low dose aspirin therapy is not recommended for cardiovascular (CV) risk prevention for men younger than 50 years and women younger than 60 years with diabetes and no major additional CV risk factors, reports Endocrine Today. This is because the potential adverse events from gastrointestinal bleeding offset potential benefits of treatment. It is estimated that as many as one in five excess events occur per 1,000 patients per year. Intracranial bleeding is another previously noted major adverse effect of aspirin therapy.

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