Exploring Benefits, Risks Of Aspirin Therapy

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Aspirin Therapy

Discovery Health CME presents an expert discussion on aspirin and its use in the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular and cerebral-vascular events.

"There are good data regarding the use of aspirin in the prevention of vascular events," says John Whyte, M.D., M.P.H., vice president of CME, Discovery Health. "Yet despite these data, aspirin continues to be underutilized in patients who are at risk of initial or repeat heart attacks and strokes," he adds.

Many national organizations, including the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and the American Diabetes Association, recommend aspirin therapy for patients at risk of heart attack and stroke, and the National Quality Forum and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations use "aspirin for the prevention of cardiovascular events" as a quality measure. Even so, recent surveys demonstrate that many appropriate patients don't receive it.

Evidence presented in the program will demonstrate that when used appropriately, aspirin can prevent 32 percent of new myocardial infarctions and 15 percent of all vascular events. Additionally, the medicine can prevent a third of all repeat heart attacks, a quarter of repeat strokes and one-sixth of all vascular deaths. The risks of aspirin use, including gastrointestinal bleeding and aspirin resistance, are discussed as well.

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In addition to the clinical benefits, the program details the significant pharmacoeconomic advantages associated with widespread adoption of aspirin therapy. Charles Hennekens, M.D., Dr.P.H., states that "the annual cost to save a life using aspirin is a mere $13.00, compared to costs with prescription drugs that are exponentially higher. What we have here is serious clinical evidence to support the medical economics." He suspects that "if aspirin were half as effective, 10 times as expensive and on prescriptions, perhaps it would be more widely and appropriately utilized."

ASPIRIN THERAPY: MAXIMIZING THE BENEFITS features an outstanding panel of leading authorities on preventive medicine and internal medicine:

-- Charles Hennekens of the Department of Clinical Science and Medical Education & Center of Excellence at Florida Atlantic University, voluntary professor of medicine & epidemiology and public health at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and clinical professor of Preventive Medicine, NOVA Southeastern University

-- Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director of the NYU Women's Heart Program and associate professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine

-- Michael Pignone, M.D., M.P.H., division chief and associate professor, Division of General Internal Medicine & Epidemiology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine

"We are pleased to be able to provide an esteemed panel of physicians to discuss these data. It is our hope that this resource will give medical professionals the knowledge to ultimately improve the utilization of this low- cost, high-benefit medicine," said Dr. Whyte.

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