Aspirin Effective in Preventing Thromboembolism Recurrence

For patients with unprovoked VTE, aspirin presents no apparent increase in risk of major bleeding

WEDNESDAY, May 23 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with unprovoked venous thromboembolism who have completed oral anticoagulant treatment, aspirin effectively prevents recurrence, with no apparent increase in the risk of major bleeding, according to a study published in the May 24 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Cecilia Becattini, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Perugia in Italy, and colleagues randomly assigned patients with first-ever, unprovoked venous thromboembolism, who had completed six to 18 months of oral anticoagulant treatment, to aspirin (100 mg daily) or placebo for two years.

The researchers found that over the study period there was recurrence of venous thromboembolism in 28 of the 205 patients who received aspirin and in 43 of the 197 patients who received placebo (6.6 and 11.2 percent per year, respectively; hazard ratio [HR], 0.58). During a median treatment period of 23.9 months, recurrence was seen in 5.9 percent of patients receiving aspirin and 11.0 percent of those receiving placebo (HR, 0.55). Adverse events were similar between the two groups, with one patient in each treatment group having a major bleeding episode.

"Aspirin reduced the risk of recurrence when given to patients with unprovoked venous thromboembolism who had discontinued anticoagulant treatment, with no apparent increase in the risk of major bleeding," the authors write.

The study was funded in part by grants from Bayer HealthCare and Sanofi-Aventis; several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Bayer and Sanofi-Aventis.

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