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Taking aspirin to prevent recurrent heart attacks 'ineffective for 1 in 5'

A study by the Irish Heart Foundation shows that for 1 in 5 people taking the drug as a preventative measure, it might be ineffective.

Aspirin coated with enteric.
Aspirin coated with enteric.
Image: Sage Ross via Flickr/Creative Commmons

TAKING ASPIRIN MAY not reduce the risk of having recurrent heart attacks for some, according to an Irish study.

The Irish Heart Foundation’s (IHF) National Cardiovascular & Stroke Research Network found that taking the drug as a preventative medicine, as it is commonly used, was ineffective in one in five cases.

Of the 700 patients studied, the drug tended to be most ineffective for men in their forties with a history of diabetes or high blood pressure, who were obese, or had high levels of alcohol consumption.

However, the IHF said that further research is needed to conclude whether these findings “amount to an adherence issue or a pharmacological resistance to aspirin”.

Aspirin is frequently used an “inexpensive but effective” treatment for heart problems, as it can decrease the chance of developing a blood clot and reduce the damage to the heart caused during an attack. It is also said to reduce heart disease mortality rates by 25 per cent.

Preliminary results from this study released last year suggested that up to 400 deaths per year are caused by this ineffective use of the drug.

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This study was conducted across eight Irish hospitals. Previous studies elsewhere have shown a wide range of uses for the drug, including the treatment and prevention of cancer.

Read: A man, woman or child dies from heart disease and stroke every hour in Ireland >

More: Daily aspirin helps prevent colon cancer, says study >

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Nicky Ryan

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