Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Lower Doses of Daily Aspirin Safer

news you may not knowBe Careful Out There...

How much is enough?

Well, that depends on the commodity that is being measured. If the item in question is a double-crust pepperoni pizza with extra cheese and bacon bits, the answer may be "Seven large and three medium." But, when the question revolves around aspirin things get just a tad touchier.

Aspirin is what drives the American culture in terms of cardiovascular treatment and prevention. Over 50 million adults in the United States take aspirin to protect their cardiovascular health. That adds up to between 10 and 20 billion aspirin tablets every year. Aspirin acts as an anti-clotting agent and helps protect against heart attacks and strokes. This is critical in the United States due to the aforementioned double-crust pepperoni pizzas with extra cheese and bacon bits.

But, back to the original question: How much is enough?

The standard recommended dosage for adults has been 325mg of aspirin for daily preventive use. But a new analysis from the University of Kentucky's Gill Heart Institute casts doubt on that standard. The researchers point to the fact that aspirin also has its downside. Though it's effective as an anti-clotting agent, it is also responsible for increased susceptibility to gastrointestinal bleeding. The scientists say the standard dose, which they believe is too high, results in close to 250,000 hospitalizations each year due to complications from gastrointestinal bleeding.

What's the solution?

Baby aspirin. The scientists say their analysis showed no data supporting the higher doses of daily aspirin. Instead, they recommend patients utilizing daily aspirin therapy should use baby aspirin, with doses of 75-81mg.

Of course, if Americans ate fewer double-decker fast food entrées in the first place...

To read more about the study, see this from ScienceDaily. To lean more about the pros and cons of daily aspirin therapy, see this from the Mayo Clinic.


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