(HealthDay News) – Aspirin use is associated with an increased risk of major bleeding, while patients with diabetes have a high risk of bleeding, independent of aspirin use, according to a study published in the June 6 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Giorgia De Berardis, from Consorzio Mario Negri Sud in S. Maria Imbaro, Italy, and colleagues conducted a population-based cohort study involving 186,425 individuals with new prescriptions for low-dose aspirin (≤300mg) and 186,425 propensity-matched controls, identified from January 2003 to December 2008. Hospitalization for major gastrointestinal bleeding or cerebral hemorrhage was compared for aspirin users and those not taking aspirin.

During a median follow-up of 5.7 years, the researchers found that the overall incidence of hemorrhagic events was significantly higher for aspirin users than for those without aspirin use (5.58 vs. 3.6 per 1,000 person-years; incidence rate ratio [IRR], 1.55). In most of the subgroups investigated, aspirin use correlated with an increased risk of major bleeding, with the exception of individuals with diabetes (IRR, 1.09; 95% confidence interval, 0.97–1.22). Diabetes correlated independently with an increased risk of major bleeding, regardless of aspirin use (IRR, 1.36).

“In this population-based cohort, aspirin use was significantly associated with an increased risk of major bleeding, but this association was not observed for patients with diabetes,” the authors write. “In this respect, diabetes might represent a different population in terms of both expected benefits and risks associated with antiplatelet therapy.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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