Does Aspirin Reduce the Risk of Developing Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome?


Effect of Aspirin on Development of ARDS in At-Risk Patients Presenting to the Emergency Department: The LIPS-A Randomized Clinical Trial

Kor DJ, Carter RE, Park PK, et al; US Critical Illness and Injury Trials Group: Lung Injury Prevention with Aspirin Study Group (USCIITG: LIPS-A)
JAMA. 2016 May 15. [Epub ahead of print]

Summary

Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is among the most common and feared respiratory conditions in critically ill patients.[1] ARDS is a form of acute inflammatory lung injury, most often due to sepsis, severe trauma, aspiration, pancreatitis and other systemic injuries, and inflammatory disorders.[2]

Although we do not yet have effective drug therapies for ARDS, much attention has focused on prevention of ARDS. The authors of this study sought to follow up prior observations studies suggesting a role for aspirin in preventing ARDS,[3-5] to determine whether aspirin may prevent the development of ARDS if given early in patients at moderate to high risk.[6]

In the study, 400 emergency department patients at risk for ARDS (Lung Injury Prediction Score ≥ 4) were randomly assigned to receive treatment with aspirin (325 mg initial dose and 81 mg daily for 7 days) or placebo.[7] ARDS developed in 10.3% of patients receiving aspiring and 8.7% of those receiving placebo (P=.53), and there were no differences between groups in terms of mortality or length of stay in the hospital or intensive care unit. The authors concluded that aspirin is ineffective for preventing ARDS.

Viewpoint

The difficulty in treating ARDS has led to increased interest in prevention as a more effective strategy. Although this is appealing and clinically important, the same challenges that have led to failed ARDS trials (heterogeneous causes of ARDS, sufficient understanding of disease pathogenesis, and other factors) is equally problematic for studies of prevention.

In this case, there was a growing body of literature about the role of platelets in ARDS and the association between aspirin therapy and either lower rates of ARDS or improved outcomes.[3-5] It was reasonable to pursue the possibility that something as simple as aspirin could prevent this severe, life-threatening condition. Unfortunately, aspirin therapy neither prevented ARDS nor demonstrated efficacy for any other measurable outcome, aside from a change in interleukin 2 values at day 1.

Aspirin As Secondary Prevention in Patients With Colorectal Cancer: An Unselected Population-Based Study


Purpose Regular use of aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is associated with reduced incidence and mortality of colorectal cancer (CRC). However, aspirin as primary prevention is debated because of the risk of hemorrhagic adverse effects. Aspirin as secondary prevention may be more justified from a risk-benefit perspective. We have examined the association between aspirin use after the diagnosis of CRC with CRC-specific survival (CSS) and overall survival (OS).

Materials and Methods An observational, population-based, retrospective cohort study was conducted by linking patients diagnosed with CRC from 2004 through 2011 (Cancer Registry of Norway) with data on their aspirin use (The Norwegian Prescription Database). These registries cover more than 99% of the Norwegian population and include all patients in an unselected and consecutive manner. Exposure to aspirin was defined as receipt of aspirin prescriptions for more than 6 months after the diagnosis of CRC. Multivariable Cox-proportional hazard analyses were used to model survival. The main outcome measures of the study were CSS and OS.

Results A total of 23,162 patients diagnosed with CRC were included, 6,102 of whom were exposed to aspirin after the diagnosis of CRC (26.3%). The median follow-up time was 3.0 years. A total of 2,071 deaths (32.9%, all causes) occurred among aspirin-exposed patients, of which 1,158 (19.0%) were CRC specific. Among unexposed patients (n = 17,060), there were 7,218 deaths (42.3%), of which 5,375 (31.5%) were CRC specific. In multivariable analysis, aspirin exposure after the diagnosis of CRC was independently associated with improved CSS (hazard ratio [HR], 0.85; 95% CI, 0.79 to 0.92) and OS (HR, 0.95; 95% CI, 0.90 to 1.01).

Conclusion Aspirin use after the diagnosis of CRC is independently associated with improved CSS and OS.

Should I Take Aspirin to Prevent Cancer?


A steady drumbeat of research suggests that taking a small dose of daily aspirin over a period of years can reduce the risk of certain cancers. The strongest data favoring aspirin as a preventive are for cancers of the colon and rectum, stomach, and esophagus.

aspirinIn April 2016, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force released a recommendation stating that a low-dose aspirin regimen is most beneficial for adults age 50-59.

“Our research has demonstrated a benefit for aspirin in reducing the risk of colorectal cancer, and we are pleased with the new recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force,” says Charles S. Fuchs, MD, MPH, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber. “Our ongoing research seeks to fully understand the mechanisms by which aspirin reduces the risk of colorectal cancer and assess whether we can leverage those findings to improve the treatment of patients with established colorectal cancer.”

According to the Task Force recommendations, the adults most likely to benefit from aspirin are those who are not at risk for gastrointestinal bleeding, have a life expectancy of at least 10 years, and who are willing to take low-dose aspirin daily for at least 10 years.

For adults age 60-69, the Task Force recommends individuals speak with their primary care physician about the risks and benefits of aspirin use, and whether a low-dose regimen is right for them. The Task Force’s findings did not have sufficient evidence showing an aspirin regimen would be beneficial for adults younger than 50 or older than 70.

The biggest obstacle to recommending routine aspirin use is the significant risk of causing gastrointestinal bleeding, which can be fatal. So, it is important to weigh the risks and benefits with a physician.

Data supporting an aspirin regimen

In August 2014, researchers from London’s Queen Mary University concluded that daily aspirin taken over 10 years reduced the risk of developing cancers of the digestive tract – colon, stomach, and esophagus – by as much as 40 percent, and had a lesser impact on the number of lung, breast and prostate cancer diagnoses. The leader of the research – published in the Annals of Oncology,  said “the evidence is that everyone between 50 and 65 should consider [taking daily] aspirin.”

A team at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia has also presented research showing that low-dose aspirin helps suppress inflammatory pathways that feed prostate cancer cell formation. And another study in 2014 reported that daily aspirin could reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by 20 to 34 percent.

However, it is important to consider that many of these aspirin studies are observational and designed to look for preventive effects in heart disease, rather than side-by-side comparisons of aspirin versus no aspirin for cancer prevention.

More research is needed

A 2010 review of four clinical trials revealed that over a 20-year period, taking low doses of aspirin was associated with a 24 percent reduction in colon cancer cases and a 35 percent drop in deaths.

However, a study by researchers at Dana-Farber and Massachusetts General Hospital has suggested that this benefit may be limited to individuals who are already at high risk of colon cancer because they have elevated levels of an inflammatory factor called TNFR-2in their blood.  Fuchs, senior author of the study, noted that TNFR-2 was the only one of three inflammatory markers that was relevant to colon cancer risk, showing that testing for specific biomarkers likely will be needed to identify patients who might benefit from preventive use of aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs.

This finding reflects a larger set of unanswered questions about aspirin as a cancer preventive: Who might benefit – people who are at low risk for developing cancer, or those at high risk? How long does it take for aspirin’s presumed protective effect to kick in, and how long must the drug be taken for maximum benefit?

Research continues. Meanwhile, patients should discuss the pros and cons of daily aspirin, as with any course of medication, with their doctor.

Watch the video discussion. URL:https://youtu.be/yvXVdtbo-_I

Aspirin a day may push death away, says study .


New recommendations on daily aspirin use will likely stir the pot in the ongoing aspirin debate. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force published a final recommendation statement on Monday saying that taking an aspirin a day might help prevent cardiovascular disease and colon cancer.

The task force found that people ages 50 to 59 who have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease can lower their risk for heart attacks, stroke and colon cancer by taking an aspirin a day. They also found that those ages 60 to 69 can benefit as well, but should discuss the treatment with their health care provider first. They concluded there is not enough evidence to determine the benefits and harms of aspirin use in people younger than 50 or older than 69.
“These new findings from the task force provide a good evidence-based approach for managing a disease with therapy that has risks,” said Dr. Biswajit Kar, medical division chief at the Center for Advanced Heart Failure at Memorial Hermann Heart and Vascular Institute-Texas Medical Center. “Low-dose aspirin therapy has many proven benefits, including preventing heart attacks, strokes, and colorectal cancer.”
This is the first time the task force has issued a recommendation on aspirin to prevent both cardiovascular disease and colon cancer for those age ranges.
Health effects of aspirin: Where do we stand?

“Since our last recommendation in 2009, there has been a significant amount of science that allowed us to make a better recommendation,” said former task force chairman Dr. Michael LeFevre. “What’s new is our recommendation that incorporates reduction of colon cancer. We combined the potential benefits for cancer with the potential benefits for cardiovascular disease. That’s new and I don’t think it is either widely known or certainly not widely incorporated into a decision that balances benefits and harms.”
LeFevre also said that in 2009 there were concerns that men and women were different in terms of their aspirin benefit profile. “With the advance of science, we have decided that is not the case,” he said. “The new recommendation applies to both men and women equally.”
The recommendation applies to people who are not at an increased risk for gastrointestinal bleeding, who have at least a 10-year life expectancy, and who are willing to take low-dose aspirin daily for at least 10 years. It is also based on recent reviews that reaffirmed previous evidence about the benefits of aspirin for prevention of heart attack, stroke and colon cancer.

Two sides to the equation

There has been much back-and-forth on the benefits of daily aspirin use.
A 2015 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that people who used a daily low dose of aspirin were less likely to have colon cancer. But another study that same year in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that people who were taking aspirin for preventive measures were at an increased risk for serious health problems, such as gastrointestinal bleeding and ulcers.
In this study, there was about a 60% increase in serious gastrointestinal bleeds in people who took aspirin regularly, said LeFevre. But LeFevre said the benefit outweighs the risk.
“The deal with aspirin is we know we can help some people, and we also know we can hurt some people,” he said. “We are moderately certain that the benefits outweigh the harms for men and women ages 50 to 59 who have a 10-year cardiovascular risk of 10% or greater. That is the group we are most confident about.”
He also said men and women ages 60 to 69 with a 10% greater risk of cardiovascular disease will have benefits that outweigh the harms, but only by a small amount. Kar of the Center for Advanced Heart Failure said this study supports a longtime understanding of the importance of balancing the benefits of daily aspirin use with the potential complications.
“We now have good data to back up the importance of identifying patients best suited to receive this treatment and target the patient population that is at highest risk,” said Kar. “These recommendations underscore the need to use aspirin judiciously in our patient population. This guidance gives us the clinical tools we need to recognize which men and women are most susceptible to heart attack and stroke, and most likely to benefit from low-dose aspirin treatment.”
LeFevre agreed; he said patients need to speak with their physicians to find the right balance.
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“It’s not as easy as just saying, ‘I need to take an aspirin.’ You have to look at both sides of the equation. If personal risk for bleeding goes up, that erases the net benefit. The good news is that taking low-dose aspirin can help prevent heart attacks and strokes, and if you take it for five to 10 years it can help prevent colorectal cancer. That’s the good news. The bad news is we are also certain taking aspirin on a daily basis increases the risk of bleeds. So it’s important to have a conversation with your physician about what’s right for you,” said LeFevre.

Aspirin could reduce breast density by almost 40%


Almost half of women eligible for mammography screening have dense breast tissue, and density has been linked to increased cancer risk. But what if a simple intervention could reduce a woman’s risk — even before she gets to screening?

The humble aspirin tablet could be a worthy agent for reducing breast density and, by extension, the risk of breast cancer, according to research presented recently at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium (SABCS). What’s more, it’s no farther than the medicine cabinet.

“Current breast cancer prevention agents have substantial side effects and do not prevent estrogen receptor [ER]-negative breast cancer,” said presenter Dr. Marie Wood, an oncologist at the University of Vermont. “Aspirin is a promising breast cancer prevention therapy. It’s cheap, safe, and well-tolerated, and there’s strong biologic and epidemiologic evidence for a prevention effect on both ER-negative and ER-positive breast cancers.”

Wonder drug?

Wood and colleagues — including Dr. Emily Conant of the University of Pennsylvania — evaluated the effect of aspirin on mammographic density using medical records for 26,000 women from 36 primary care and ob/gyn practices. Subjects were included if they had undergone routine screening mammography between 2012 and 2013 and had a confirmed list of their medication use. Aspirin dose was categorized as above or below 300 mg per day, and each woman’s BI-RADS breast density category was taken from her latest mammogram.

Dr. Marie Wood

Dr. Marie Wood from the University of Vermont.

“Studies have shown that aspirin is associated with a reduction in cancer mortality and has also been shown to prevent colon cancer,” Wood told AuntMinnie.com. “The data for breast cancer are unclear. We wanted to evaluate the link between aspirin use and breast density — an important risk factor for breast cancer.”

Of the cohort, 19.7% reported current aspirin use. Forty-one percent of the women were African-American, a group that tends to be at greater risk for ER-negative breast cancer. The mean age of the study participants was 57 years, and mean body mass index was 29.

Wood and colleagues found an independent inverse association between aspirin use and mammographic density (p < 0.001). Women who took 300 mg of aspirin or more per day had a 38% lower likelihood of having extremely or heterogeneously dense breasts. This association between aspirin use and lower density was more pronounced for women younger than 60 and for African-American women, according to the researchers.

“The effect of aspirin on density was strongest for two groups at greater risk for ER-negative breast cancer — which is good news, especially since current [U.S. Food and Drug Administration]-approved breast cancer prevention drugs like tamoxifen only prevent ER-positive cancer,” Wood said.

The study results are promising, but more research is needed, she concluded.

“Our findings suggest the need for further study of aspirin for breast cancer prevention, and support the use of mammographic density as a research end point,” she said.

 

Aspirin may double survival for cancer patients


Aspirin may double the chances of survival for patients with gastrointestinal cancers, according to the results of a new study recently presented at the 2015 European Cancer Congress in Vienna, Austria.
[A bottle of aspirin
New research suggests aspirin could double the survival of patients with gastrointestinal cancers.

This research, led by Dr. Martine Frouws of Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, adds to growing evidence suggesting aspirin may be useful in the prevention and treatment of cancer.

Last month, Medical News Today reported on a study suggesting aspirin may reduce the risk of colorectal cancer, while a more recent study claims aspirin may help boost treatment response in patients with breast, skin andbowel cancers.

For their study, Dr. Frouws and colleagues set out to determine how aspirin impacts the survival of patients with tumors in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract – namely the rectum, colon and esophagus. This is the first time a study has simultaneously assessed survival data by different GI locations, according to the authors.

The study included 13,715 patients who received a GI cancer diagnosis between 1998 and 2011. They were followed up for a median of 48.6 months. Of these patients, 42.8% had colon cancer, 25.4% had rectal cancer and 10.2% had cancer of the esophagus.

To determine how aspirin use after a GI cancer diagnosis impacted the overall survival of these patients, the researchers linked patient data with drug dispensing information from the PHARMO Institute in Utrecht, the Netherlands.

“In this study we analyzed each separate prescription per patient, and therefore we were able to achieve a more exact estimate of the effect of aspirin on cancer survival,” notes Dr. Frouws.

Post-diagnosis aspirin users twice as likely to survive GI cancer

Overall, around 30.5% of patients used aspirin prior to GI cancer diagnosis, 8.3% only used aspirin after their diagnosis, while 61.1% did not use aspirin.

Fast facts about aspirin

  • Aspirin is a widely used painkiller and anti-inflammatory drug, though it is increasingly used as an antiplatelet medication
  • The US Preventive Services Task Force recommend thatpeople ages 50-59 take aspirin daily to lower their risk ofheart attack and stroke
  • Side effects of aspirin use include nausea, stomach pain, vomiting, heartburn and, in more severe cases, intestinal bleeding.

Learn more about aspirin

Across all cancers, around 28% of patients survived for at least 5 years.

Compared with patients who used aspirin before their cancer diagnosis and those who did not use the medication, patients who used aspirin after their diagnosis were twice as likely to survive, according to the results.

This finding remained even after the team accounted for potential confounding factors, including age, sex, cancer stage, cancer treatment and the presence of other medical conditions.

While the exact mechanism underlying the anticancer effect of aspirin is unclear, the researchers suggest it could be down to its antiplatelet properties. They explain that circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are believed to use platelets – a component of blood – to shield themselves from the immune system. Because aspirin blocks the function of platelets, this may expose CTCs, leaving them open to attack.

Though the optimal dosage and duration of aspirin use and its effect on GI cancers need to be investigated in further research, the team believes they have uncovered a potential treatment option that could reach a wide number of patients.

“Given that aspirin is a cheap, off-patent drug with relatively few side effects, this will have a great impact on health care systems as well as patients,” says Dr. Frouws, adding:

“Medical research is focusing more and more on personalized medicine, but many personalized treatments are expensive and only useful in small populations.

We believe that our research shows quite the opposite – it demonstrates the considerable benefit of a cheap, well-established and easily obtainable drug in a larger group of patients, while still targeting the treatment to a specific individual.”

The team is now conducting a randomized, placebo-controlled trial investigating how an 80-milligram dose of aspirin affects elderly patients with colon cancer.

Earlier this year, MNT reported on a study published in JAMA suggesting that certain genetic variations may influence the effect of aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) on colorectal cancer.

Turmeric As Effective As Aspirin, Prozac, Lipitor, Metformin And 10 Other Drugs


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Turmeric is one the most altogether explored plants in presence today. Its restorative properties and parts (essentially curcumin) have been the subject of more than 5600 companion looked into and distributed biomedical studies. Actually, our five-year long research venture on this sacarosanct planthas uncovered more than 600 potential preventive and helpful applications, and also 175 unmistakable valuable physiological impacts. This whole database of 1,585 ncbi-hyperlinked turmeric edited compositions can be downloaded as a PDF at our Downloadable Turmeric Document page, and procured either as a retail thing or with 200 GMI-tokens, for those of you who are as of now are individuals and receive the automatically each month. naturally every month

Given the sheer thickness of exploration performed on this astounding zest, it is no big surprise that a developing number of studies have inferred that it looks at positively to a mixed bag of ordinary pharmaceuticals, including:

Lipitor/Atorvastatin(cholesterol medication): A 2008 study published in the journal Drugs in R & D found that a standardized preparation of curcuminoids from Turmeric compared favorably to the drug atorvastatin (trade name Lipitor) on endothelial dysfunction, the underlying pathology of the blood vessels that drives atherosclerosis, in association with reductions in inflammation and oxidative stress in type 2 diabetic patients. [i] [For additioncurcumin and ‘high cholesterol’ research

Corticosteroids (steroid medications): A 1999 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that the primary polyphenol in turmeric, the saffron colored pigment known as curcumin, compared favorably to steroids in the management of chronic anterior uveitis, an inflammatory eye disease.[ii] A 2008 study published in Critical Care Medicine found that curcumin compared favorably to the corticosteroid drug dexamethasone in the animal model as an alternative therapy for protecting lung transplantation-associated injury by down-regulating inflammatory genes.[iii] An earlier 2003 study published in Cancer Letters found the same drug also compared favorably to dexamethasone in a lung ischaemia-repurfusion injury model [for additional curcumin and inflammation research

Prozac/Fluoxetine & Imipramine (antidepressants): A 2011 study published in the journal Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica found that curcumin compared favorably to both drugs in reducing depressive behavior in an animal model.[v] [for additional curcumin and depressionresearch

Headache medicine (blood more slender): A 1986 in vitro and ex vivo study distributed in the journalArzneimittelforschung found that curcumin has hostile to platelet and prostacyclin balancing impacts contrasted with ibuprofen, showing it may have esteem in patients inclined to vascular thrombosis and obliging against joint pain therapy.[vi] [for extra curcumin and against platelet

Anti-inflammatory Drugs: A 2004 study published in the journal Oncogene found that curcumin (as well as resveratrol) were effective alternatives to the drugs aspirin, ibuprofen, sulindac, phenylbutazone, naproxen, indomethacin, diclofenac, dexamethasone, celecoxib, and tamoxifen in exerting anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative activity against tumor cells.[vii] [for additional curcumin and anti-proliferative research

Oxaliplatin (chemotherapy drug)

Metformin (diabetes drug): A 2009 study published in the journal Biochemitry and Biophysical Research Community explored how curcumin might be valuable in treating diabetes, finding that it activates AMPK (which increases glucose uptake) and suppresses gluconeogenic gene expression

Another route in which turmeric and its parts uncover their astounding remedial properties is in examination on medication safe and multi-drug safe tumors. We have two segments on our site committed to inquiring about common and integrative treatments on these subjects, keeping in mind there are many substances with obvious viability against these chemotherapy-and radiation-safe growths, curcumin tops both records:

Tumors: Drug Resistant

Tumors: Multi-Drug Resistant

We have recognized 27 contemplates on curcumin’s capacity to either impel cell passing or sharpen multi-drug safe growth cell lines to routine treatment.

Considering how solid a reputation turmeric (curcumin) has, having been utilized as both sustenance and prescription in an extensive variety of societies, for a great many years, an in number contention can be made for utilizing curcumin as a medication option or adjuvant in tumor treatment

Aspirin may boost cancer therapy.


Giving cancer patients aspirin at the same time as immunotherapy could boost the effectiveness of the treatment, says a new study.

The researchers found that combining immunotherapy with aspirin or other COX inhibitors substantially slowed bowel and melanoma skin cancer growth in mice, compared to immunotherapy alone.

Aspirin, commonly prescribed for pain relief, is part of a group of molecules called COX inhibitors.

“Giving patients COX inhibitors like aspirin at the same time as immunotherapy could potentially make a huge difference to the benefit they get from treatment,” said study author Caetano Reis e Sousa from Francis Crick Institute in London.

Skin, breast and bowel cancer cells often produce large amounts of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) molecule that dampens down the immune system’s normal response to attack faulty cells, which helps cancer to hide.

It is a trick that allows the tumour to thrive and may explain why some immunotherapy treatments have not been as effective as hoped.

Aspirin and other COX inhibitors stop the production of PGE2 and help reawaken the immune system, the study said.

“We have added to the growing evidence that some cancers produce PGE2 as a way of escaping the immune system. If you can take away cancer cells’ ability to make PGE2 you effectively lift this protective barrier and unleash the full power of the immune system,” Sousa noted.

The study was published in the journal Cell.

Aspirin Dangers, and Natural, Evidence-Based Alternatives


As far back as the 5th century BC the Greek physician Hippocrates wrote about the use of a bitter powder extracted from willow bark that reduced fevers and eased aches and pains.  Native Americans also used an infusion of willow bark for similar purposes. What was this remarkable “healing” principle within the bark that relieved disease?

Known as salicylic acid (from the Latin salix, willow tree), this pain-killing compound is widely distributed throughout plants, where it functions as a hormone.  The more vegetables and fruits you consume, the more likely you are to have a physiologically significant concentration of salicylic acid in your blood. This is why, for instance, vegans and vegetarians generally have higher levels than most grain- and meat-based consumers. [1]

aspirin dangers 199x300 Aspirin Dangers, and Natural, Evidence Based Alternatives

The chemical acetyl-salicylic acid, commonly known as aspirin, is a synthetic form of salicylic acid, a compound which is formed when salicin, a bitter compound naturally found within plants like white willow bark, is broken down within the human body. Salicylic acid can also be synthesized endogenously from benzoic acid, and its urinary metabolite, salicyluric acid, has been found to overlap levels in patients on low-dose aspirin regimens. Cell research indicates that salicylic acid compounds (known as salicyclates) actually compare surprisingly well to aspirin in reducing inflammatory activity. [2]

While salicylic acid is found naturally in plants as salicylates, acetyl-salicylic acid does not exist in nature, is not formed as byproduct of natural salicylate consumption,[3] and is produced only through industrial synthesis. For example, this is one method of synthesis:

Acetylsalicylic acid is prepared by reacting acetic anhydride with salicylic acid at a temperature of <90 deg C either in a solvent (e.g., acetic acid or aromatic, acyclic, or chlorinated hydrocarbons) or by the addition of catalysts such as acids or tertiary amines.” [4]

Also, the chemical modification of natural salicylic acid with an acetyl group results in the acetylation of hemoglobin, [5] essentially chemically altering the natural structure-function of our red blood cells and subsequent hemodynamics. In essence, aspirin, a semi-synthetic compound, makes the blood tissue itself semi-synthetic.

This could be why aspirin has been linked to such a broad range of unintended adverse health effects, including but not limited to:

  • Gastric Ulcer [6]
  • Hearing Loss/Tinnitus[7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12]
  • Cerebral Bleeding [13]
  • Influenza Mortality [14]
  • Reye Syndrome
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Helicobacter Pylori Infection[16]

We have a section on our database dedicated to indexing the under-reported, unintended adverse effects of aspirin, related to 50 diseases which can be viewed here: Aspirin Side Effects. We also have a section which indexes research on natural compounds studied to prevent, reduce or reverse Aspirin-Induced Toxicity.

According to US EPA statistics, up to 500 thousand pounds of the chemical was produced in the United States in 1998 alone. [17]  Millions the world over take it for pain relief, including your typical headache, but also for the prevention of heart attacks and stroke.

Taking a “baby aspirin,” i.e. an 81 mg dose, is considered safer — which it is relative to a 325 mg “adult dose” – but is known to cause widespread and significant gastroduodenal damage.  A study published in 2009 in the journal Currrent Medical Research & Opinion titled, “Gastroduodenal toxicity of low-dose acetylsalicylic acid: a comparison with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs,” found the following:

Data suggest that ASA causes significant gastroduodenal damage even at the low doses used for cardiovascular protection. These effects (both systemic and possibly local) may be pharmacodynamically distinct from the gastroduodenal toxicity seen with NSAIDs.[18]

Another 2009 study found that 80% of healthy individuals who uses short-term (14 days), low-dose aspirin experienced small intestinal toxicity, including small bowel mucosal breaks and mucosal inflammation. [19]  Also, there are reports of esophageal mucosal lesions induced by low-dose aspirin and other antiplatelet medications mimicking esophageal malignancy.[20]

Data suggest that ASA [aspirin]causes significant gastroduodenal damage even at the low doses used for cardiovascular protection. These effects (both systemic and possibly local) may be pharmacodynamically distinct from the gastroduodenal toxicity seen with NSAIDs.[21]

Hemorrhagic side effects, in fact, are one of the greatest challenges facing those who use aspirin for prevention. By taking a drug which prevents clotting, aspirin can work too well, resulting in bleeding disorders or events, some of which may be life-threatening, even lethal.

So, given the serious, unintended adverse health effects of aspirin therapy, what are some evidence-based natural alternatives?

Researched aspirin alternatives include:

Pycnogenol: A human study published in 1999 in the journal Thrombotic Research found that pycnogenol was superior (i.e. effective at a lower dosage) to aspirin at inhibiting smoking-induced clotting, without the significant (and potentially life-threatening) increase in bleeding time associated with aspirin use.[22] The abstract is well worth reading in its entirety:

The effects of a bioflavonoid mixture, Pycnogenol, were assessed on platelet function in humans. Cigarette smoking increased heart rate and blood pressure. These increases were not influenced by oral consumption of Pycnogenol or Aspirin just before smoking. However, increased platelet reactivity yielding aggregation 2 hours after smoking was prevented by 500 mg Aspirin or 100 mg Pycnogenol in 22 German heavy smokers. In a group of 16 American smokers, blood pressure increased after smoking. It was unchanged after intake of 500 mg Aspirin or 125 mg Pycnogenol. In another group of 19 American smokers, increased platelet aggregation was more significantly reduced by 200 than either 150 mg or 100 mg Pycnogenol supplementation. This study showed that a single, high dose, 200 mg Pycnogenol, remained effective for over 6 days against smoking-induced platelet aggregation. Smoking increased platelet aggregation that was prevented after administration of 500 mg Aspirin and 125 mg Pycnogenol. Thus, smoking-induced enhanced platelet aggregation was inhibited by 500 mg Aspirin as well as by a lower range of 100-125 mg Pycnogenol. Aspirin significantly (p<0.001) increased bleeding time from 167 to 236 seconds while Pycnogenol did not.These observations suggest an advantageous risk-benefit ratio for Pycnogenol.” [emphasis added]

Pycnogenol also has about as many “side benefits” as aspirin has side effects. You can view them on our pycnogenol research page.

Policosanol: Already well-known for its ability to modulate blood cholesterol levels as effectively as statins, but without their notorious side effects, this sugar cane wax extract has been found to be as effective as aspirin at inhibiting clotting, but at a lower, safer dose.[23]

There are actually a broad range of natural compounds, including foods and spices, with demonstrable platelet-inhibiting activity. You will find a list of them on our natural platelet inhibitor pharmacological actions page. Another highly relevant section on our website is the Thrombosis Research page.

Ultimately, however, cardiovascular disease and heart attacks, for instance, are not caused by a lack of aspirin. To explore further the research related to preventing and treating heart disease naturally, visit our Health Guide: Heart Health.

Article Sources

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[2] Pharmacokinetics of aspirin and salicylate in relation to inhibition of arachidonate cyclooxygenase and antiinflammatory activity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1987 Mar ;84(5):1417-20. PMID: 3103135

[3] P L Janssen, M B Katan, W A van Staveren, P C Hollman, D P Venema. Acetylsalicylate and salicylates in foods. Cancer Lett. 1997 Mar 19 ;114(1-2):163-4. PMID: 9103279

[4] [Ullmann’s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. 6th ed.Vol 1: Federal Republic of Germany: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. 2003 to Present, p. V31 725 (2003)]

[5] K R Bridges, G J Schmidt, M Jensen, A Cerami, H F Bunn. The acetylation of hemoglobin by aspirin. In vitro and in vivo. J Clin Invest. 1975 Jul;56(1):201-7. PMID: 237937

[6] Gastroduodenal toxicity of low-dose acetylsalicylic acid: a comparison with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Curr Med Res Opin. 2009 Nov;25(11):2785-93. PMID: 19788350

[7] Analgesic use and the risk of hearing loss in men. Am J Med. 2010 Mar;123(3):231-7. PMID: 20193831

[8] Hearing loss in a woman on aspirin: the silent pharmacokinetic parameter. Ther Drug Monit. 2009 Feb;31(1):1-2. PMID: 19155962

[9] Too much of a good thing: long-term treatment with salicylate strengthens outer hair cell function but impairs auditory neural activity. Hear Res. 2010 Jun 14;265(1-2):63-9. Epub 2010 Mar 6. PMID: 20214971

[10] Long-term administration of salicylate enhances prestin expression in rat cochlea. Int J Audiol. 2009 Jan;48(1):18-23. PMID: 19173110

[11] Behavioral assessment and identification of a molecular marker in a salicylate-induced tinnitus in rats. Neuroscience. 2010 Feb 17;165(4):1323-32. Epub 2009 Dec 1. PMID: 19958810

[12] Salicylate-induced degeneration of cochlea spiral ganglion neurons-apoptosis signaling. Neuroscience. 2010 Jun 16;168(1):288-99. Epub 2010 Mar 15. PMID: 20298761

[13] Predictors of mortality in trauma patients with intracranial hemorrhage on preinjury aspirin or clopidogrel. J Trauma. 2008 Oct;65(4):785-8. PMID: 18849791

[14] The effect on mortality of antipyretics in the treatment of influenza infection: systematic review and meta-analysis. J R Soc Med. 2010 Oct;103(10):403-11. PMID: 20929891

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Aspirin a day could dramatically cut cancer risk, says biggest study yet .


An aspirin a day could dramatically cut people’s chances of getting and dying from common cancers, according to the most detailed review yet of the cheap drug’s ability to stem disease.

Aspirin

More than 130,000 deaths would be avoided over a 20-year period if Britain’s 50- to 64-year-olds took a daily aspirin for 10 years, because the beneficial effects continue even when the aspirin is stopped, the authors say.

A research team led by Professor Jack Cuzick, head of the centre for cancer prevention at Queen Mary University of London, concluded that people between 50 and 65 should consider regularly taking the 75mg low-dosage tablets.

Cuzick said that taking aspirin “looks to be the most important thing we can do to reduce cancer after stopping smoking and reducing obesity, and will probably be much easier to implement”.

In a briefing to journalists, the scientist added that he had been dosing himself for the last four years, keeping the tablets beside his bed. “I take aspirin as part of a bedtime ritual every day and I can achieve that quite easily,” he said.

However, to obtain the newfound benefits of the drug, people would have to take aspirin for at least five years and probably 10, the review said.

Aspirin 0608 WEB Aspirin: effects on cancer

Aspirin was originally developed as a painkiller and treatment for fever and inflammation, but more than a century after it was first synthesised from willow bark, researchers have found more medical uses for it.

It has been demonstrated to reduce the risks of heart attacks and strokes as well as the chances of some cancers. But the big question has been whether the benefits outweigh the harms, because aspirin can cause stomach bleeds, which could be potentially fatal in some people.

Concluding that the benefits outweighed the risks, Cuzick’s team, writing in the cancer journal Annals of Oncology, said that by taking low-dose aspirin every day for 10 years, bowel cancer cases could be cut by about 35% and deaths by 40%. Aspirin could reduce rates of oesophageal and stomach cancers by 30% and deaths from them by 35% to 50%.

However, taking aspirin every day for 10 years increases the risk of stomach bleeds among 60-year-olds from 2.2% to 3.6%. In about 5% of those who have a stomach bleed, it could be fatal.

Cuzick added that there was evidence that this side-effect could be more common in people who have the bacterium Helicobacter pylori in their stomach, which also causes peptic ulcers. He said people considering embarking on a regime of daily aspirin should talk to their GP and it might be possible to be tested first.

A second risk is stroke. Aspirin is already given to some people to reduce their risk of heart attacks or ischemic stroke, caused by blood clots, which it does by thinning the blood. But it is likely to worsen a haemorrhagic stroke, caused by bleeding in the brain.

The study also shows that 10 years of aspirin reduces heart attacks by 18% and deaths by 5%, but although it reduces stroke numbers by 5%, there is a 21% increase in deaths.

All the cancers in which aspirin has a beneficial effect have some lifestyle causes – from smoking in lung cancer to alcohol in oesophageal cancer and obesity in all of them. Taking aspirin, said Cuzick, “should not be seen as a reason for not improving your lifestyle”. The drug, however, would reduce the cancer risk even in people who have a healthy lifestyle, he said.

Increasing numbers of people in middle age are already being prescribed cholesterol-lowering statins to reduce their risk of heart attacks and strokes. Recently there has been an outcry over the “medicalisation” of the population and concern about side-effects – which trial data suggest are less common and less serious than those in aspirin. Cuzick said there was no evidence of any interaction between the two drugs. “In many people, taking both of them is probably a good idea,” he said.

However, Cancer Research UK (CRUK)warned that people should speak to their GP before starting on daily aspirin. The charity said it would like to see more research on who should and should not be taking it.

“Aspirin is showing promise in preventing certain types of cancer, but it’s vital that we balance this with the complications it can cause – such as bleeding, stomach ulcers, or even strokes in some people,” said Dr Julie Sharp, head of health information at CRUK.

“Before aspirin can be recommended for cancer prevention some important questions need to be answered, including what is the best dose and how long people should take it for. And tests need to be developed to predict who is likely to have side-effects.

“Given the continued uncertainty over who should take aspirin, Cancer Research UK is funding a number of trials and research projects to make the picture clearer,” she said.

Aspirin also has a smaller preventive effect on other major cancers, according to the research paper. It could reduce the number of lung cancers by 5% and deaths by 15%. It could cut prostate cancers by 10% and deaths by 15%, and breast cancers by 10%, with a reduction in deaths of 5%.

There would be an overall 9% reduction in the number of cancers, strokes and heart attacks suffered by men and a fall of 7% in women.

Cuzick acknowledged that people generally did not like taking pills for a long period, although, he said, some were “more than happy to take multivitamins for many, many years without any clear evidence of benefit. It is a regular habit.”

As a generic drug – Bayer’s patent ran out in the 1930s – there are no profits to be made by big pharmaceutical companies from the estimated 100bn tablets taken around the world every year.

The science – and the warnings

What did the study find?

The risk of both developing and dying from digestive-tract cancers – those of the bowel, stomach and oesophagus – was reduced by about a third in people who took low doses of aspirin daily for 10 years. Cases of breast, prostate and lung cancer were reduced by about 10%, though no effect was seen on other cancers.

What do scientists recommend?

For aspirin’s anti-cancer benefits to kick in, people needed to have taken aspirin for at least five years from the ages of 50 to 64. Most of the research was based on low 75mg doses. The longer the drug was taken, the better its preventive effects, until the age of 65, after which there was an increased risk of internal bleeding. The study found no benefit in taking aspirin before the age of 50. Scientists recommend that people consult their GP before taking daily aspirin to prevent cancer.

How does aspirin prevent cancer?

There are two theories. First, inflammation in the body causes cells to divide, which increases the risk of them mutating into cancerous forms.

Because aspirin reduces inflammation, it lowers the risk of cancerous cells developing.

Second, cancer cells can piggyback on blood platelets, which help the blood to clot. Aspirin thins the blood by making platelets less sticky, which may also make it harder for them to carry cancer cells and so spread the disease.

What are the risks?

Aspirin can cause bleeding in the stomach and bowel. This can be serious, especially in the over 70s, but rarely affects younger people unless they have an underlying condition.

“My personal advice would be that everyone 50 to 64 should consider taking aspirin. You should talk to your GP first to see if you’ve got any of the major risk factors for bleeding, but if not I think the benefits substantially outweigh the risks,” said the senior author, Prof Jack Cuzick.

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