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The study should help clarify a "confusing" issue, a leading GP said. The NHS drugs watchdog, the National Institute for health and Clinical
Excellence (NICE), has not made a ruling in this area. But experts in the UK, US and Europe recommend aspirin for people who
have not already had a heart attack or stroke, but are at high risk of
cardiovascular disease because of factors such as age, blood pressure
and cholesterol level.
"We don't have good evidence that, for healthy people, the benefits of
long-term aspirin exceed the risks by an appropriate margin"
Professor Colin Baigent, study leader. This strategy, known as primary prevention, is based on the result of
studies looking at predicted risks and benefits in this population.
But the latest research provides clearer evidence because it is based
on data from individuals, the researchers said. They looked at heart attacks and strokes and major bleeds - a potential
side effect of aspirin - in six primary prevention trials, involving
95,000 people at low to average risk and 16 trials involving 17,000
people at high risk - because they had already had a heart attack or
Use of aspirin in the lower-risk group was found to reduce non-fatal
heart attacks by around a fifth, with no difference in the risk of
stroke or deaths from vascular causes. But it also increased the risk of internal bleeding by around a third...
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However, in those patients who had already had a heart attack or stroke
and were at risk of having another, the benefits clearly outweighed the
chance of adverse events, the researchers said.
Study leader Professor Colin Baigent from the Clinical Trial Service
Unit at the University of Oxford, UK, said drug safety was vital when
making recommendations that affected tens of millions of healthy people. "We don't have good evidence that, for healthy people, the benefits of
long-term aspirin exceed the risks by an appropriate margin." He added: "I think the guideline groups will find it useful to have the
data analysed in that way."
Professor Steve Field, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said the issue
had been confusing for GPs and patients. "There is no definitive guidance and it makes it bewildering when you
have a series of papers which then hint it would be beneficial to take
aspirin." He added that many patients would buy aspirin over the counter - either
on the advice of their GP or under their own steam - because it was
"This important study does suggest people shouldn't take aspirin unless
indicated by disease."
Ellen Mason, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation said:
"It is better for doctors to weigh up the benefit and risk of
prescribing aspirin on an individual basis, rather than develop a
blanket guideline suggesting everyone at risk of heart disease is
routinely given aspirin."
Story from BBC NEWS : news.bbc.co.uk/../8072215.stm
Filipendula ulmaria (Meadowsweet)
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I want to acknowledge that there is a lot of literature in the medical world which puts a completely opposite spin on the daily use of Aspirin but not many people hear the other side of this subject and, as it is a controversial one with quite differing opinions, I wanted to give some voice of my own to other side.
I personally quite like aspirin as a drug and it is one of the very few pharmaceuticals that I have used it for myself and my family on different occasions but would not want to take it every day.
Aspirin's history is interwoven with two great herbs that at least partially work because of their shared chemistry to this substance that was one of the very first drugs ever produced. One of those herbs is Meadowsweet, pictured above, excellent for an over-acidic stomach and many other things with a detailed write up on it here. For more on the history of aspirin and some further comparisons to aspirin there is the great Willow, pictured below and written about in some depth here!
On some related notes, when it comes to heart health I do not think you should over-worry about cholesterol (more info here) but I do think you should worry about high blood pressure (more info here).
Salix alba (Willow)
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