Washington: Beware! That mild painkilling drug may not provide cardiovascular benefits for patients who have progressive circulation disorder caused by narrowing, blockage or spasms in a blood vessel.
According to researchers from University of Florida, aspirin therapy has been a staple of cardiology care for people who have peripheral vascular disease, which causes narrowed arteries and reduced blood flow to the limbs.
The findings were published today in the journal PLOS One.
The team analysed 6,560 peripheral vascular disease patients and found that the drug has no significant effect on death rates and on incidents of stroke, heart attack or major cardiac events.
The mean age of patients included in the analysis was 62. Six percent of the patients were women, 32 percent were people with diabetes and 67 percent were current or ex-smokers.
"Among patients with peripheral vascular disease, many of them may not be deriving the benefits from aspirin that they expect to be getting," said Anthony A. Bavry.
Aspirin prevents blood clots from forming, which can reduce the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
The results suggest that after six years, 7.7 percent of PVD patients who took aspirin had died, compared with 8.5 percent in a control group.
The incidence of stroke was 3.2 percent among aspirin users and 4 percent among non-users.
Heart attacks were recorded in 3.5 percent of aspirin users and 5.5 percent of non-users.
Patients who are on a daily aspirin regimen for cardiovascular issues should not stop taking the medicine on their own but can consult their physician about whether the current findings may be relevant, Bavry said.
For cardiologists and researchers, another author said the analysis underscores the need for further study.