Aspirin -- just for men?

Oct 18, 2007

First it was an apple, now it is an aspirin a day that may keep the doctor away. Aspirin has become standard for heart attack prevention, but research published in the online open access journal BMC Medicine suggests that this may really be a man's drug.

Scientists have long puzzled over why the protective effects of aspirin vary so widely between clinical trials. Some trials show no difference between aspirin and placebo, whilst others report that aspirin reduces the risk of a heart attack by more than 50%.

This latest study, from The James Hogg iCAPTURE Centre for Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research, highlights the influence of gender on aspirin's protective powers. Investigators examined the results of 23 previously published clinical trials for the effect for aspirin in heart attack prevention, involving more than 113,000 patients. The authors then analysed how much the ratio of men to women in these trials affected the trials' outcomes.

"Trials that recruited predominantly men demonstrated the largest risk reduction in non-fatal heart attacks," says Dr Don Sin, one of the study's authors. "The trials that contained predominately women failed to demonstrate a significant risk reduction in these non-fatal events. We found that a lot of the variability in these trials seems to be due to the gender ratios, supporting the theory that women may be less responsive to aspirin than men for heart protection."

The mechanisms of this resistance are not yet understood, although recent studies have shown that men and women have major differences in the structure and physiology of the heart's blood vessels.

"From our findings we would caution clinicians on the prescribing aspirin to women, especially for primary prevention of heart attacks," says Dr Sin. "Whether or not other pharmaceutical products would be more effective for women is unclear; more sex-specific studies should now be conducted."

Source: BioMed Central

Explore further: Judge blocks Massachusetts ban on painkiller

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

FDA approves new type 2 diabetes drug

11 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Millions of Americans with type 2 diabetes have a new treatment option with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval Tuesday of a once-weekly injectable drug, Tanzeum.

AAFP provides tips to address patients' vaccine concerns

Apr 14, 2014

(HealthDay)—Physicians remain the biggest influence on whether patients get vaccinated, and must be prepared to address patients' reservations, according to an article published in the March/April issue ...

Tamiflu and Relenza: How effective are they?

Apr 11, 2014

Tamiflu (the antiviral drug oseltamivir) shortens symptoms of influenza by half a day, but there is no good evidence to support claims that it reduces admissions to hospital or complications of influenza. This is according ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Keter
5 / 5 (1) Oct 18, 2007
That there is a gender bias for anticoagulant effectiveness is not all that surprising -- men are less likely to die from hemorrhaging during childbirth. ;o)
tswogger
not rated yet Nov 01, 2007
What about current diabetics? The UKPDS and many other published studies suggest that diabetics should have aspirin as primary prevention of future cardiac complications, if appropriate for the patient.

More news stories

Low Vitamin D may not be a culprit in menopause symptoms

A new study from the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) shows no significant connection between vitamin D levels and menopause symptoms. The study was published online today in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopa ...

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...

Wireless industry makes anti-theft commitment

A trade group for wireless providers said Tuesday that the biggest mobile device manufacturers and carriers will soon put anti-theft tools on the gadgets to try to deter rampant smartphone theft.