Does Aspirin really protect us against heart attacks?

I know that one shouldn't trust everything you read (or should that be don't believe anything) in the newspapers but this was published in the Daily Mail today:

dailymail.co.uk/health/arti...

I can't see how to make the above into a proper link on here.

This is an extract from the article:

"A study of 30,000 NHS patients found those with atrial fibrillation - a heart condition that causes an irregular and often abnormally fast heart rate - were at higher risk if they took aspirin than other drugs.

"Researchers from Southampton University and Maastricht University in the Netherlands examined health records of people who were prescribed warfarin, aspirin or a new generation of pills to prevent stroke.

"They found patients who took aspirin were 1.9 times as likely to suffer an acute heart attack as those who took warfarin, one of a class of drugs called vitamin K antagonists.

"The paper, published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, found a new class of drugs called direct oral anticoagulants - or DOACs - were also linked to a doubling in heart attack risk.

"The findings echo guidance issued by NHS watchdog NICE in 2015 which said aspirin does more harm than good for AF patients.

"Atrial fibrillation affects up to 900,000 patients in England and causes their hearts to beat very fast and irregularly, greatly increasing the risk of stroke and early death.

"But as many as one in seven - up to 120,000 patients - are taking aspirin even though it isn’t very effective and may itself cause a stroke.

"The problem has come about because for almost a decade GPs and heart specialists were encouraged to prescribe aspirin, as it was thought the drug helped to thin the blood and prevent the deadly clots that cause strokes.

"But recent evidence suggests it may also cause bleeding in the stomach and, in rare cases, bleeds in the brain that actually lead to strokes.

"Studies have also shown aspirin is far less effective than other less risky blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin and NOACS, which include rivaroxaban and apixaban.

"GPs have been ordered to check patients taking aspirin at least once a year."

I'm not medically minded so am wondering whether someone better versed in these things can put this article into perspective.

8 Replies

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  • Hi ChrisAnnSen, I have read this article and like you do not know what to believe have asked if Maz, could find out. Although I read the Mail everyday, do find it does a lot of scare mongering

    Do they not realise that not only do people with Artirial Fibralation take it but many others like us also take.

    Let's hope it does not apply to us as well.

    Jean

  • We will await any response with interest. As you say the Daily Mail does rather go over the top at times.

  • Hi ChrisAnnSen, the link works fine and thanks for the posting. It's hard to know what to believe, isn't it? I think both the Daily Mail and The Express do tend to sensationalise at times, all the same 'food for thought.' Hope Maz can get some clarification.

    Mary x

  • I now realise that the link worked on its own and I didn't need to do anything with it ... clever. :)

  • I will check this out for everyone. Maz

  • I have asked Prof Harrison at Guy's Hospital about the information in the article in the Daily Mail regarding aspirin, this is her reply:

    Does not apply to MPN patients as they have more sticky blood.

    So I hope this clarifies the information for you all. Maz

  • Thanks Maz, that's good to know and makes sense.

  • I have managed to find the Report on Risk of myocardial infarction in patients with atrial fibrillation using vitamin K antagonists, aspirin or direct acting oral anticoagulants in the Wiley Online Library (British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. on Stolk,et al. Br J Clin Pharmacol.2017;doi:10.1111/bcp. Also on the healio.com /cardiology/vascular-medicine/news/online.

    Lots to read.