Aspirin study refocuses prevention message for women

Published: March, 2014

Aspirin therapy does less than anticipated in preventing heart attacks in women — but more than we knew in warding off strokes.

Everyone was surprised by the long-awaited results of the Women's Health Study, released in March 2005. The 10-year study of almost 40,000 healthy women showed that low-dose aspirin did not protect them from first heart attacks but did modestly reduce their risk of stroke. Results were almost the opposite of those from earlier trials that involved mostly men. Those studies, which included the landmark Physicians' Health Study, showed that aspirin therapy lowers the risk of heart attack but slightly increases the risk of having a stroke. Do the reverse findings mean that men and women respond differently to aspirin?

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