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Cardiovascular disease

Aspirin inappropriately used for CVD prevention in just over 10% of cases

Survey shows that in patients who have taken aspirin as primary prevention, treatment was inappropriate in nearly 11.6% of cases

Source: Agencja Fotograficzna Caro / Alamy

A survey of nearly 70,000 patients taking aspirin for primary prevention has found that treatment was inappropriate in nearly 11.6% of cases

In people without cardiovascular disease (CVD) and a ten-year CVD risk below 6%, guidelines state that the potential bleeding risks associated with aspirin use outweigh any atheroprotective effect.

Despite this warning, a survey of nearly 70,000 patients taking aspirin for primary prevention has found that, for the overall cohort, treatment was inappropriate in nearly 11.6% of cases. Rates of inappropriate prescribing varied significantly across practices, from 0% to 71.8%, and were higher in women than in men. Encouragingly, the annual trend of inappropriate aspirin use has declined from 14.5% in 2008 to 9.1% in 2013.

Since aspirin is available over the counter, it is likely that patients’ own decisions to take aspirin account for some of the overuse, the researchers admit. The study appears in Journal of the American College of Cardiology (2015;65(2):111–121)[1].

 

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2015.20067674

Readers' comments (1)

  • "In people without cardiovascular disease (CVD) and a ten-year CVD risk below 6%, guidelines state that the potential bleeding risks associated with aspirin use outweigh any atheroprotective effect."

    We no longer routinely use aspirin from primary prevention of CVD at any level of cardiovascular risk in the UK. This study highlights the differences in prescribing practice worldwide. Any prescription (or OTC sale) of aspirin for primary prevention would be considered inappropriate use in the UK.

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