Easy Pill to Swallow for Diabetes Patients

Daily aspirin treatment for diabetes may reduce risk of heart disease and death

(RxWiki News) Usually we think to take aspirin when we have a headache or are in pain. The drug that's in so many of our medicine cabinets may do so much more for people with diabetes.

Taking a high dose of aspirin every day is beneficial for people with diabetes. At a dose of up to 325 milligrams daily, aspirin may prevent heart disease, reduce the risk of having a second heart attack and lower the risk of death by about 23 percent.

"Aspirin is good for diabetics' heart health."

According to Scot Simpson, a pharmaceutical science professor from the University of Alberta and lead study author, diabetes patients have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, causing about 60 percent of deaths in this patient population. For this reason, it's important to find ways to lower the risk of heart attacks in people with diabetes.

Simpson says he always thought that aspirin could help treat heart disease in diabetes patients. From his research, he found that that it can. Individuals who took lower doses of aspirin, less than 325 milligrams per day, did not get much benefit.

In order to come to these findings, Simpson and colleagues reviewed 21 different studies. They focused on diabetes patients who had a heart attack or stroke in the past. They wanted to see if aspirin could stop a recurring cardiac episode.

Because aspirin is over the counter and, for the most part, safe, doctors can easily add the drug to a diabetic's treatment plan, says Simpson.

Pharmacists can also play a role in suggesting aspirin to patients and positively impact their health, Simpson concludes. 

The study was recently published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

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Review Date: 
July 6, 2011