Heart Beat: 06/09

Recent research suggests that taking 75 to 81 mg of aspirin a day to help prevent coronary heart disease (CHD) and cardiac events such as heart attacks is just as effective and often safer than taking larger doses of more than 100 mg. A study published in the March 17 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine noted the effectiveness of aspirin for patients who also took the antiplatelet drug clopidogrel and found that low doses were just as beneficial in lowering CHD risk as higher doses, but posed a lower risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. A separate study, published in the March issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, found that low-dose aspirin was just as effective as high-dose aspirin in reducing the mortality risk of postmenopausal women who have heart disease or who have had a stroke. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force encourages aspirin therapy for men between 45 and 79 and women between 55 and 79 only if the patient and physician determine that the potential heart attack risk reduction outweighs the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.
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