Bookmark and Share
29/05/2009

'Keep Taking The Tablets', Says NICHS

A leading medical charity has warned people at risk of heart attack not to stop taking aspirin, after researchers said it should be taken "only by those who had already had a heart attack or a stroke".

The charity is at odds with the new study published in the Lancet medical journal indicated that the risk of bleeding as a result of taking the drug could do more damage, and that it should not be prescribed routinely. Andrew Dougal, Chief Executive of NI Chest Heart & Stroke (NICHS) pictured here said: "People who have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or a family history of heart disease should not abandon aspirin as a result of reading about one research project in the Press.

"Heart attack and stroke can be fatal, even in a first episode. Instead, doctors should consider using enteric-coated aspirin, which will protect the stomach," he said.

Professor Mahendra Varma, Chairman of NICHS and a consultant cardiologist, said: "No-one should change medication without the advice of their doctor.

"This new evidence should be looked at in the light of all of the research in this area.

"After mature reflection clear guidance should be given to GPs."
News Image
The new study in The Lancet medical journal found that healthy people who take aspirin reduced their already small risk of heart attack or stroke by 12%, while the small risk of internal bleeding increased by a third.

This means there were five fewer non-fatal heart attacks for every 10,000 people treated, but this was offset by a comparable increase in bleeding - one extra stroke and three cases of stomach bleeding per 10,000 people treated.

In the secondary prevention studies - where patients were taking aspirin to prevent a repeat attack - aspirin reduced the chances of serious vascular events by about one-fifth and this benefit clearly outweighed the small risk of bleeding.

The study, funded by the UK Medical Research Council, was headed by Professor Colin Baigent of the Clinical Trial Service Unit and Epidemiological Studies Unit at Oxford University.

The professor said: "The latest research does not seem to justify general guidelines advocating the routine use of aspirin in all healthy individuals.

"Drug safety really matters when making recommendations for tens of millions of healthy people.

"We don't have good evidence that, for healthy people, the benefits of long-term aspirin exceed the risks by an appropriate margin."

See: Widespread Use Of Aspirin Slammed

(BMcC/JM)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

11 February 2011
Know Risks Of Heart Attacks, Says Mayor
A leading medical charity is urging men and women in their 30s and 40s to pay more attention to their heart health because they are failing to share in the downward trend of deaths from cardiovascular disease.
01 February 2002
UK coronary heart death rate drops by 10 per cent
Coronary Heart Disease deaths have dropped by a staggering 13,000 cases in just two years in the UK according to the latest figures from the British Heart Foundation. Better medicines and improved surgical techniques taken together with a decrease in smoking have contributed to the 10 per cent decline - but an estimated 2.
17 August 2001
Breakthrough drug could dramatically reduce heart disease
A combination of heart drugs could help save 10,000 lives each year in the UK, say scientists. The treatment, costing £1 per day is especially significant for Northern Ireland, which has some 7,000 people dying from heart disease each year in Northern Ireland, one of the worst records of coronary heart disease in the western world.
03 March 2015
Children's Heart Surgery In NI Ends
Northern Ireland's Health Minister Jim Wells has confirmed he has formally accepted proposals for a single, all-Ireland children's heart surgery centre to be based in Dublin. The decision by Minister Wells means the current service at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) is to stop.
02 November 2017
Alliance Condemns Attack On Foreign National
The Alliance Party has condemned an attack on a foreign national in east Belfast. Councillor Michael Long called for a change to the narrative around immigration in NI. He said: "I'm extremely disappointed to hear more and more often of these kinds of incidents designed to drive people who are contributing to our community out of their homes.
30 October 2017
Call For Threats In West Belfast To Be Lifted Immediately
A shot has been fired at a house in west Belfast in a "case of mistaken identity". Sinn Fein MLA Paul Maskey confirmed a list is circulating in the area warning a number of people they would be targeted by dissidents. He said the threats are "about extorting cash from criminals and drug dealers" and called for them to be "lifted immediately".
27 October 2017
Three Out Of Four Older People Concerned About Impact Of Brexit
Three out of four older people in Northern Ireland are concerned about the impact Brexit will have on them, according to a new report. A report launched by the Northern Ireland Pensioners Parliament also revealed seven out of ten concerned about freedom of movement across the border.
18 October 2017
Drop In Number Of People Claiming Unemployment Benefits
There has been a drop in the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in Northern Ireland. According to figures from the Department for the Economy, there are currently 29,300 claimants, a drop of around 500 over the past month.
11 October 2017
Four People Arrested After Drugs Found In Co Fermanagh
Four people have been arrested following a drugs search at a property in Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh. Three men, aged 19, 24 and 27 and a 22-year-old-woman were detained after police discovered Class A drugs during the search of a house in the Ashdale area.
06 October 2017
Older People To Be Hit Hardest Over Proposed Health Cuts
Over half of the £70 million of savings proposed by NI Health Trusts are likely to affect older people, according to the Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland. Mr Eddie Lynch said: "I am deeply concerned that once again, older people will be hit the hardest by budget cuts.
03 October 2017
Four People Arrested Over George Gilmore Murder
Four more people have been arrested over the murder of George Gilmore. Mr Gilmore, a high-profile loyalist, was shot in the neck in the Woodburn estate in Carrickfergus on 13 March this year. He died from his injuries the next day in hospital. A 30-year-old man and three women have been taken to Musgrave Police Station to be questioned.
22 September 2017
Two People Escape Injury After Shots Fired At House In L'Derry
Two people have escaped injury after shots were reportedly fired at a house in Co L'Derry. A gang of masked men smashed the front door of the property in the Dove Gardens are on Thursday, 21 September, however they failed to get in. The men broke the windows of a vehicle parked outside, according to the PSNI.
07 September 2017
Aspirin Could Reverse The Effects Of Tooth Decay
Aspirin could reverse the effects of tooth decay, according to researchers at Queen's University in Belfast. Taking aspirin could also result in a reduction in the need for fillings, the findings have revealed.
19 April 2013
Ballymoney Has Highest Risk Of Heart Disease
Ballymoney has been revealed as the area in Northern Ireland where people are most at risk of dying from coronary heart disease. A new report from the British Heart Foundation has found that Tameside in Greater Manchester is the UK's heart disease capital, but that the County Antrim town is the most at-risk area in Northern Ireland.
18 June 2009
Treatment Standards Taken 'To Heart'
A leading medical charity has broadly welcomed a new heartcare 'framework' for Northern Ireland. It is said to map out what heart, stroke, diabetes and kidney patients can expect from the health service.