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Low-dose Aspirin Shown to Reduce Risk of First Stroke in Women

Results of 10-year clinical trial suggest most consistent benefits among women 65 years and older

Boston and Orlando – In a long-awaited clinical trial conducted among nearly 40,000 initially healthy middle-aged American women, regular use of low-dose aspirin over a ten-year period was found to reduce the risk of stroke 17 percent. However, among the same population, researchers from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) also found that low-dose aspirin did not benefit most women in terms of preventing first heart attacks or cardiac deaths.

“Although not widely recognized, women tend to suffer more strokes than heart attacks as compared to men, and thus these prevention data for low-dose aspirin have important public health implications,” said BWH’s Julie E Buring, ScD and principal investigator of the Women’s Health Study (WHS). The results of the cardiovascular component of the WHS are being presented at the American College of Cardiology (ACC) 54th Annual Scientific Session in Orlando, Florida and will also be published simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine online March 7, 2005 and then in print in the March 31, 2005 issue.

The WHS is a large, randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial funded by both the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the National Cancer Institute to evaluate the benefits and risks of low dose aspirin (100 mg every other day) as well as vitamin E supplementation (600 IU every other day) in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. The trial included 39,876 healthy women 45 years of age and older who were monitored for 10 years for first major cardiovascular events including heart attack, stroke and death from cardiovascular causes.
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