Advising Patients About Daily Aspirin Use

W. Steven Pray, PhD, DPh; Joshua J. Pray, PharmD Candidate


US Pharmacist. 2004;29(2) 

In This Article


The link between daily aspirin use and decreased risk of myocardial infarction (MI) and stroke has been well publicized. However, due to several recent public relations efforts, consumers may see a rash of new promotional materials designed to reacquaint them with this information. To properly advise patients, pharmacists must be equipped with the latest FDA views regarding safe ingestion of aspirin when a physician is not supervising the patient.

Recently, a group of researchers carried out a computerized search of the English-language literature from 1988 to 2003 to discover trials on the usefulness of aspirin in the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. They identified five randomized trials with an aggregate number of 55,580 patients (11,466 women). The report appeared in the Archives of Internal Medicine on September 22, 2003. It confirmed that aspirin confers a 32% reduction in risk of first MI and 15% reduction of any important vascular event.[1] The same day that report was published, a public relations firm called Sensei Health relayed an announcement from Bayer stating that the drug manufacturer had joined forces with Women's HeartAdvantage,[2] described as a program of VHA, Inc, the "largest cooperative of not-for-profit hospitals in the US." The goal of the partnership was to educate women about risk factors for cardiovascular disease and "promote the more widespread and appropriate use of aspirin in at-risk women."

On September 23, the MCS Public Relations firm disseminated a press release about an entity known as "AspirinWorks."[3] This organization's goal is to promote a standardized method of measuring aspirin resistance—a patient's genetic inability to respond to aspirin therapy—by establishing a network of laboratories. (Read more on aspirin resistance in this month's Senior Care column.)

Thus, several public and media relations firms are actively working to keep aspirin in the forefront of the nation's consumers and professional audience. This will cause a new wave of patients to approach the pharmacist about daily aspirin use.