New aspirin risk to health say US researchers

About 1 in 4 adults may carry a gene, which when combined with taking aspirin may make them twice as likely to suffer a heart attack, according to US researchers.

Previous studies of aspirin, which is recommended to cut the risk of heart attack and stroke, have linked it to life-threatening internal bleeding. Others have cast doubt on whether healthy people should take aspirin as the risks could outweigh the benefits.

They have also found some do not appear to benefit from it, and while the risk of non-fatal heart attacks is reduced by 20 per cent, deaths from strokes and heart failure are not cut.

Dr Kathryn Hall, the report’s lead author, at Harvard Medical School said: ‘We need to look at ourselves as individuals, a certain constellation of genes, and to take that into consideration. If the research is validated in further study, it would be the logical next step to test everyone for these genes before giving them aspirin.’

In the UK last year30.9 million NHS prescriptions for aspirin were issued for those at risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The new US study involved examined 40,000 women over a ten-year period. Of those, 23 per cent carried a variation of the catechol-O-methyltransferase gene, which helps the body process stress hormones, linked to heart problems and stroke. And it was found that those who had the gene were naturally protected and were 34 per cent less likely to have heart attacks.

However, taking aspirin removed this protection and increased their risk of heart problems by 85 per cent – and, in some cases, by as much as three times.In contrast, another group who carried a different variation of the same gene were more likely to have a heart attack than those who did not carry the gene, but aspirin protected against this, cutting the number of heart attacks by 47 per cent.

The results raise the question whether aspirin should be given to all patients with risk factors for heart disease. And that doctors would be using modern genomics and genetics to identify those individuals for whom aspirin has the greatest benefit and the lowest risk of adverse effects. Tests for the genes are not currently available on the NHS.

Anyone with medical concerns should speak with their doctor rather than stopping to take their medication.

Over the counter painkillers linked to heart problems


pillsPainkillers such as Ibruprofen, which is commonly used to reduce pain caused by inflammation, have been linked to increased risk of heart disease.

NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are recommended to patients suffering from Osteoarthritis and other painful conditions associated with inflammation, but new research has now linked these to an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
The researchers have now warned GPs to take cardiovascular risk into account with each individual patient before recommending the use of NSAIDs.
In 2004, a new generation anti-inflammatory drug, the COX-2 inhibitor rofecoxib was withdrawn from the market after a trial found that it was linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease. This sparked a wide debate over the safety of such anti-inflammatory drugs, especially in those patients already at increased risk of developing heart disease.
The ongoing debate led researchers in Switzerland to perform a full analysis of all trials comparing NSAIDs with non NSAIDs or placebos – a total of 31 trials and 116,429 people taking 7 different drugs.
However, the researchers found that although the number of cardiovascular events occurring during the trials were low, they do not consider this to be proof of the drugs being safe to take when already at increased risk of heart problems or stroke – which applies to many patients suffering from musculoskeletal problems.
When compared with placebo, rofecoxib and lumiracoxib were associated with more than twice the risk of heart attack, while ibubrofen was associated with more than three times the risk of stroke. Etoricoxib and diclofenac were associated with the highest risk of cardiovascular death – around four times the risk when compared with the placebo results.
Naproxen appeared the least harmful of the 7 drugs involved in the analysis.
The results of this research indicate that more research needs to be done on this issue, given the risks involved and the regular recommendation of these drugs. It is clear that alternatives to the traditional anti-imflammatory drugs need to be evaluated and promoted.
Perhaps a worrying outcome of this study is its links to aspirin – also an NSAID – which is recommended to people attempting to keep their heart healthy. A clear guide to the NSAIDs would benefit the public and enable people suffering from Osteoarthritis and joint pain to have more say in their treatment.
If you want to find out more about all the NSAIDs, please visit the NHS link below;

Aspirin cuts breast cancer risks


New York: Women who have completed treatment for early-stage breast cancer and who take aspirin have a nearly 50% reduced risk of breast cancer death and a similar reduction in the risk of metastasis. The findings are based on an analysis of data from the Nurse’s Health Study, a large, ongoing, prospective observational study.

“This is the first study to find that aspirin can significantly reduce the risk of cancer spread and death for women who have been treated for early-stage breast cancer,” said lead author Michelle Holmes, MD, DrPH, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.

“If these findings are confirmed in other clinical trials, taking aspirin may become another simple, low-cost, and relatively safe tool to help women with breast cancer live longer, healthier lives.”

Investigators report it is not yet clear how aspirin affects cancer cells, but they speculate it decreases the risk of cancer metastasis by reducing inflammation, which is closely associated with cancer development. Prior studies have also suggested that aspirin inhibits cancer spread: One study found that people with colon cancer who took aspirin lived longer than those who did not, and laboratory studies have also shown that aspirin inhibited the growth and invasiveness of breast cancer cells.

In this analysis, which was published online in an issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology, researchers evaluated data from the Nurses’ Health Study, which included 4,164 female nurses in the United States (aged 30-55 years in 1976) who were diagnosed with stage I, II, or III breast cancer between 1976 and 2002 and were followed through June 2006.

They examined patients’ use of aspirin for 1 or more years after a breast cancer diagnosis (when patients would have completed treatment such as surgery, radiation therapy, and/or chemotherapy) and the frequency of metastasis and breast cancer death.

The authors emphasised that patients undergoing active treatment should not take aspirin due to potential interactions that can increase certain side effects.

A total of 400 women experienced metastasis, and 341 of these died of breast cancer. Women who took aspirin 2 to 5 days per week had a 60% reduced risk of metastasis and a 71% lower risk of breast cancer death. Those who took aspirin 6 or 7 days a week had a 43% reduced risk of metastasis and a 64% lower risk of breast cancer death. The risk of breast cancer metastasis and mortality did not differ between women who did not take aspirin and those who took aspirin once a week.

Researchers also found that women who took non-aspirin non-steroidal inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) 6 or 7 days a week also had a reduced risk of breast cancer death (a 48% reduction), but women who took NSAIDS less frequently and those who used acetaminophen did not experience such a benefit.

“Several studies have suggested that aspirin may have beneficial effects against cancer because of its anti-inflammatory effects. But aspirin can cause stomach bleeding and is not for everyone. These are promising findings, and if they are confirmed in additional clinical trials, physicians may be able to regularly recommend aspirin to their breast cancer patients to reduce risk of cancer spread and mortality,” said breast cancer expert Lori Pierce, MD, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan.

While the investigators did not collect data on aspirin dose, they noted that women who took aspirin regularly most likely took it for heart disease prevention; the typical dose for that purpose is 81 mg/day.

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Oncology

Aspirin does reduce heart and stroke attack risks, say US experts


New York: Aspirin should be recommended to reduce the risk of heart attack in men aged 45 – 79 and to reduce the risk of stroke in women aged 55 – 79 who do not have heart disease, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has recommended.(1)

The USPSTF(2) states that men aged 45 – 79 should be encouraged to take aspirin when the potential benefit of a reduction in the risk of a heart attack outweighs the potential harm of an increase in gastrointestinal bleeding; women aged 55 – 79 should be encouraged to take aspirin when the potential benefit of a reduction in the risk of ischaemic stroke outweighs the potential harm of an increase in gastrointestinal bleeding.

The recommendations are based on the latest evidence of the benefits of aspirin. If implemented in Europe, they would greatly increase the number of people taking aspirin to prevent heart attack or stroke.

Taking aspirin to prevent heart attack or stroke by people who are not known to have heart disease is known as primary prevention. An individual’s risk is estimated from their sex, age, smoking status, blood pressure and cholesterol level. European guidelines recommend primary prevention with aspirin when the risk of a heart attack exceeds 10% per year;(3) in the UK, primary prevention is recommended for people over 50 years old when the 10-year risk exceeds 20%.(4) Aspirin is universally recommended for people who have already had a heart attack or stroke (secondary prevention).

The USPSTF provides estimates of the numbers of cardiovascular events avoided by primary prevention with aspirin and the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and stroke. Assuming aspirin reduces heart attacks by 32%, its benefits for men aged 45 – 79 outweigh the risks when the 10-year risk of a heart attack is 4%. For women aged 55 – 59, the benefit:risk ratio becomes favourable when the 10-year risk of stroke is 3%. The USPSFT says the benefits of aspirin are not proven for men or women in younger age groups, among people aged 80 or over, or for reducing the risk of heart attack among women.(1)

The decision to take aspirin should be made jointly between doctors and patients, the USPSFT emphasises, but the recommendation should be stronger as the potential benefit increases.

Salicylic Acid

Also known as Beta hydroxy acid this is a mild exfoliant that helps peel off dead layers of the skin. Beware if you have an aspirin allergy as it may cause a serious swelling reaction.

Beta Hydroxy Acid

Also known as Salicylic acid this is a mild exfoliant that helps peel off dead layers of the skin. Beware if you have an aspirin allergy.