HealthDay News — For individuals without cardiovascular disease, use of aspirin is associated with a reduced risk for cardiovascular events and an increased risk for major bleeding, according to a meta-analysis published in the January 22 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Sean L. Zheng, BM, BCh, from Imperial College London, and Alistair J. Roddick, from King’s College London, examined the correlation between aspirin use for primary prevention and cardiovascular events and bleeding. Data were included from 13 trials with 164,225 participants and 1,050,511 participant-years of follow-up.

The researchers found that the median baseline risk for the primary cardiovascular outcome (composite of cardiovascular mortality, nonfatal myocardial infarction, and nonfatal stroke) was 9.2%. Compared with no aspirin, aspirin use correlated with significant reductions in the composite cardiovascular outcome (57.1 vs 61.4 per 10,000 participant-years; hazard ratio, 0.89; absolute risk reduction, 0.38%) and correlated with an increased risk for major bleeding events (23.1 vs 16.4 per 10,000 participant-years; hazard ratio, 1.43; absolute risk increase, 0.47%). 

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The meta-analysis “demonstrates a general consistency of the newer studies with the previous studies of aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular events,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial. “When applying these results to an individual patient, clinicians must consider other interventions in addition to aspirin, such as smoking cessation and control of blood pressure and lipid levels, to lower risk.”

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One editorial author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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