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Huge rise in aspirin use to save money

Medicating vast swathes of the population with aspirin for primary prevention would be cost saving to the NHS, a new economic analysis concludes.

The study found economic benefits in treating everyone with a risk of coronary heart disease of 2.4 per cent or higher over 10 years.

The researchers said it would be unrealistic to use aspirin in everyone at such low risk, but that a starting threshold of 10 per cent 10-year risk would be sensible.

They found treating from this threshold for 10 years saved an average of £84.50 per patient over the time period, increasing to £138 in a patient with a 15 per cent 10-year risk.

Study leader Dr Mark Lamotte, a cardiologist and scientific project co-ordinator with IMS Health, a data analysis consultancy in Brussels, said: 'Aspirin is saving lives at very low cost.

'It is only in patients at increased risk of bleeding that we should be careful. In other patients, don't hesitate to prescribe aspirin.'

Dr Terry McCormack, chair of the primary care cardiovascular society, said: 'The fact its use is cost saving is more evidence we are on the right track to recommend primary prevention.'

The study, published in Pharmacoeconomics (February), anal-ysed meta-analysis data and health care costs in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.

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