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NEW YORK — A new study published in the July 19 online edition of BMJ found that heart disease patients that opt out of taking low-dose aspirin daily put themselves at a higher risk for heart attack.
According to data pooled from the U.K.'s Health Improvement Network database, among the more than 39,500 patients ages 50 to 84 years who discontinued their low-dose aspirin (75 to 300 mg/day) regimen during the average follow-up of three years, researchers recorded 876 heart attacks and 346 deaths from coronary heart disease. Compared with low-dose aspirin patients, those who recently had stopped taking aspirin had a significantly increased risk of nonfatal heart attack or death from coronary heart disease.
The researchers noted that nonadherence in patients was the most common reason for discontinuation of low-dose aspirin.
"The magnitude of this short term increase in risk after discontinuation is about the inverse of the benefit obtained with use of low dose aspirin treatment for secondary prevention," study authors concluded. "The implications of interrupting such treatment should be taken into account when managing the secondary prevention of cardiovascular events in primary care."