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.
11 December 2018
School Closed And Homes Evacuated As Belfast Bomb Alert Continues
A Belfast primary school remains closed today, Tuesday 11 December, and many west Belfast residents have been evacuated from their homes due to an ongoing security alert. A "signifiant number" of houses were evacuated as police closed off Upper Dunmurry Lane.
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.
27 September 2018
Report On Children And Young People's Mental Health Services Welcomed
The Department of Health (DoH) and Health and Social Care Services (HSC) are "committed to delivering real and meaningful improvements" to child mental health services. A spokesperson for the DoH made the commitment following the publication of a report by the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People (NICCY).
06 September 2018
People Encouraged To 'Get Behind' Large-Scale Filming Project
People are being encouraged to get behind a filming project taking place in Belfast next week. Up to 2,000 volunteers from across Belfast and beyond are being sought to take part in the filming project, which is being staged in Titanic Quarter at lunchtime on Wednesday 12 September.
30 August 2018
People In North West Urged To Register As Organ Donors
People from the North West are being encouraged to register as Organ Donors and to inform their loved ones of their wishes. Making the call ahead of Organ Donation Week, SDLP Health Spokesperson Mark H Durkan, said: "The matter of Organ Donation is an extremely important one and one we can all get involved in.
23 August 2018
Four People Left 'Extremely Shaken' After Shots Fired At House In Newry
Four people have been left "extremely shaken" after a "volley of shots" were fired at a house in Newry. The attack happened at a property in the Barcroft Park area at around 1am on Thursday, 23 August. The shots were fired through the living room window, however no-one was injured.
10 August 2018
Two People Arrested After £1m Cannabis Seizure
Two people have been arrested after police seized cannabis worth an estimated £1 million in Belfast. The discovery was made during searches in the south of the city on Thursday, 09 August. A 37-year-old woman was arrested in Stranmillis and a 48-year-old man was detained on the Lisburn Road. They are being held in police custody.
24 August 2018
Three People Charged After Stabbing Attack In South Belfast
Three people have been charged with attempted murder following a stabbing attack in south Belfast. The assault happened on the Laganbank Road at around 11.45pm on Wednesday, 22 August. An 18-year-old man sustained serious injuries in the attack. Five men were arrested and three have been charged with attempted murder and a number of other offences.
28 November 2018
84 New HIV Cases Diagnosed In NI Last Year
Over 80 new cases of HIV were diagnosed in Northern Ireland last year, according to a new report by the Public Health Agency (PHA). A total of 1,073 people in the region are now living with the condition. The HIV surveillance in Northern Ireland 2018 study shows that 84 of these cases were diagnosed in 2017.
10 August 2018
Sports Direct Buys House Of Fraser For £90m
Sports Direct, owned by Mike Ashley, has acquired 59 of the House of Fraser stores in the UK for £90 million. The deal was announced just after the chain went into administration after talks with creditors fell through.
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.
17 October 2018
Life-Saving CPR Training For School Pupils
The Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) and the British Heart Foundation have teamed up to teach 5000 people CPR as part of 'Restart a Heart' day. School children in south Belfast are among those learning the life-saving skill.
15 February 2018
Man Dies Of Suspected Heart Attack At Walking Trail In Co Fermanagh
A man has died after he suffered a suspected heart attack at the Cuilcaigh Mountain trail boardwalk in Co Fermanagh. Emergency services were called to the scene on Tuesday, 13 February, following a report that a man was suffering from chest pains. The North West Mountain Rescue Team (NWMRT) were also alerted to the scene.