People who discontinue long-term, low-dose aspirin therapy for reasons other than surgery or bleeding are at an increased risk of cardiovascular events, new research shows.
According to the large population based study published in Circulation people who stopped taking aspirin had a 37% higher rate of hospitalisation for MI, stroke, or cardiovascular death (adjusted hazard ratio 1.37; 95% CI 1.34–1.41).
This translated into an absolute risk increase of 13.5 events per 1000 person-years at risk said study authors Dr Johan Sundström and Dr Jonas Oldgren from Uppsala University in Sweden.
Stopping aspirin was particularly risky for patients with previous CVD, with one of every 36 secondary-prevention patients experiencing an additional CV event per year compared with one of every 146 primary-prevention patients.
The elevated risk of cardiovascular events increased shortly after discontinuation of therapy and did not appear to diminish over time.
“Low-dose aspirin therapy is a simple and inexpensive treatment…as long as there’s no bleeding or any major surgery scheduled, our research shows the significant public health benefits that can be gained when patients stay on aspirin therapy,” Dr Sundstrom said.