ASH: Aspirin Safe and Effective for Preventing VTE Recurrence

After first unprovoked VTE, long-term aspirin after standard anticoagulant therapy decreases recurrence

MONDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with a first unprovoked venous thromboembolism (VTE), taking low-dose aspirin for at least two years after standard anticoagulant therapy is safe and effective for preventing recurrence, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hematology, held from Dec. 10 to 13 in San Diego.

Cecilia Becattini, M.D., from the University of Perugia in Italy, and colleagues assessed the efficacy and safety of low-dose aspirin for the prevention of VTE recurrence after a standard course of oral anticoagulants. Patients with a first unprovoked VTE, who had received six to 12 months of oral anticoagulant treatment, were randomly allocated to receive a daily dose of aspirin (205 patients) or placebo (197 patients), for at least two years. They were followed for up to 36 months. The main safety outcomes were clinically relevant (major and non-major) bleeding, while the main efficacy outcome was objectively confirmed recurrent symptomatic VTE and VTE-related death.

The investigators found that VTE recurrence was seen in 28 and 43 patients in the aspirin and placebo groups, respectively (6.6 and 11.2 percent per patient-year, respectively). While taking the study treatment, VTE recurred in 23 and 39 patients in the aspirin and placebo groups, respectively (5.9 and 11.0 percent per patient-year, respectively). One patient in each treatment group experienced major bleeding. The two groups had a similar incidence of clinically relevant non-major bleeding.

"Our study shows that aspirin, a common and low-cost drug found in most medicine cabinets, can be a valid alternative to oral anticoagulants for the extended treatment of VTE," Becattini said in a statement.

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