1. Kennedy, Maureen Shawn MA, RN

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Alandmark 10-year study of 39,876 women 45 years of age and older has found that regular aspirin intake doesn't confer all of the same benefits to women that it does to men. Half the women were assigned to the treatment group and received 100 mg of aspirin every other day; the other half received a placebo. Researchers monitored all women for myocardial infarction, stroke, and death from cardiovascular causes.


Results showed that aspirin did not significantly reduce the risk of myocardial infarction and cardiovascular events, except in women 65 and older, whose risk diminished by 26% when taking aspirin regularly. A surprise finding was that the women taking aspirin had a 17% lower risk of ischemic stroke; this benefit was even greater among women 65 and older, whose risk diminished by 30%.


Recommending that women take aspirin regularly, especially if they're not yet 65, remains a delicate matter, as aspirin can cause gastrointestinal bleeding and peptic ulcers. In the group of women taking aspirin, there were 127 episodes of gastrointestinal bleeding, compared with 91 in the group taking placebo. The researchers therefore recommend that each woman make the decision with the help of her clinician, according to her age and medical history.-Dalia Sofer


Ridker PM, et al. N Engl J Med 2005; 352(13):1293-304.

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