Aspirin does not prevent heart attacks in patients with diabetes

October 16, 2008

Taking regular aspirin and antioxidant supplements does not prevent heart attacks even in high risk groups with diabetes and asymptomatic arterial disease, and aspirin should only be given to patients with established heart disease, stroke or limb arterial disease, according to a study published today on bmj.com.

In light of these findings, and the evidence from six other well controlled trials, the prescribing practice of doctors and international guidelines should be reviewed so that aspirin is only prescribed to patients with established heart and stroke disease, argues the author of an accompanying editorial.

Patients with diabetes are two to five times more likely to suffer from heart disease than the general population and heart disease is a major cause of death in patients with type 1 and 2 diabetes. Although there is considerable evidence showing no protective benefit of aspirin in high risk patients without heart disease, guidelines are inconsistent and aspirin is commonly prescribed for the primary prevention of heart disease in patients with diabetes and with peripheral arterial disease.

But aspirin is one of the top 10 causes of adverse drug events reported to the Commission on Human Medicines. It causes gastrointestinal bleeding and the risk of bleeding increases with age and prolonged use.

Professor Jill Belch and colleagues from Scotland investigated whether aspirin and antioxidants given together or separately can reduce heart attacks and death in patients with diabetes and arterial disease. 1276 patients with diabetes and evidence of artery disease over 40 years of age were randomised to receive either aspirin or placebo, an antioxidant or placebo, aspirin and antioxidant or double placebo, and followed over eight years.

Overall, the researchers found no benefit from either aspirin or antioxidant treatment in the prevention of heart attacks or death. Patients in the aspirin groups had 116 primary events compared with 117 in the placebo group. No significant difference in events was seen between the antioxidant group and the placebo group.

The authors conclude by voicing their concern at the widespread prescribing of aspirin despite the lack of evidence to support its use in the primary prevention of heart attacks and death in people with diabetes and in view of its possible side effects.

These findings show that unlike statins and drugs for reducing hypertension, which have a benefit in all risk groups including those with and without heart disease, only patients with a history of clinical or symptomatic heart disease or stroke disease benefit from taking aspirin, writes Professor William Hiatt in an accompanying editorial.
-end-
Contacts:

Professor Jill Belch, Institute of Cardiovascular Research, University of Dundee, Dundee, Scotland.
Tel: +44 (0)1382 632 457
Email: j.j.f.belch@dundee.ac.uk

Editorial: Professor Hiatt, University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine, USA.
NB Professor Hiatt will be in Germany on Thursday afternoon.
Tel: +1 303 860 9900 (office) +1 303 915 5939 (mobile)
Email: Will.Hiatt@UCHSC.edu

BMJ

Related Diabetes Articles from Brightsurf:

New diabetes medication reduced heart event risk in those with diabetes and kidney disease
Sotagliflozin - a type of medication known as an SGLT2 inhibitor primarily prescribed for Type 2 diabetes - reduces the risk of adverse cardiovascular events for patients with diabetes and kidney disease.

Diabetes drug boosts survival in patients with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 pneumonia
Sitagliptin, a drug to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, also improves survival in diabetic patients hospitalized with COVID-19, suggests a multicenter observational study in Italy.

Making sense of diabetes
Throughout her 38-year nursing career, Laurel Despins has progressed from a bedside nurse to a clinical nurse specialist and has worked in medical, surgical and cardiac intensive care units.

Helping teens with type 1 diabetes improve diabetes control with MyDiaText
Adolescence is a difficult period of development, made more complex for those with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Diabetes-in-a-dish model uncovers new insights into the cause of type 2 diabetes
Researchers have developed a novel 'disease-in-a-dish' model to study the basic molecular factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, uncovering the potential existence of major signaling defects both inside and outside of the classical insulin signaling cascade, and providing new perspectives on the mechanisms behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and possibly opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics for the disease.

Tele-diabetes to manage new-onset diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic
Two new case studies highlight the use of tele-diabetes to manage new-onset type 1 diabetes in an adult and an infant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.

Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.

People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

Read More: Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.