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Paper of the Day - Women 'less protected by aspirin'

An analysis of clinical data suggests that aspirin does not significantly reduce the risk that women will suffer heart attacks.

A review of data from 23 trials of more than 113,000 people prescribed aspirin for primary and secondary prevention of myocardial infarction (MI) found that more than a quarter (27%) of the variation in the non-fatal MI results could be accounted for by gender.

Aspirin conferred more protective benefit on men than women. Trials that recruited predominantly men demonstrated the largest risk reduction in non-fatal MI (38% lower than placebo; relative risk = 0.62).

Trials that contained predominately women failed to demonstrate a significant risk reduction in non-fatal MI.

Dr Don Sin, from the department of medicine at the University of British Columbia in Canada, concluded that:

‘Gender accounts for a substantial proportion of the variability in the efficacy of aspirin in reducing MI rates across these trials, and [the data] supports the notion that women might be less responsive to aspirin than men.'

BMC Medicine 2007, 5:29

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