Researchers Say Aspirin May Help COVID Patients

Ralph Ellis

November 06, 2020

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

Researchers have known since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic that infection increases the risk of sometimes deadly blood clots in the lungs, heart, and other organs.

Now research indicates aspirin — a cheap, over-the-counter drug — may help COVID patients survive by helping to prevent those blood clots.

A British researcher, professor Peter Horby of Oxford University, told a committee in Parliament that aspirin is the latest drug added to the Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial, which is looking at multiple treatments, the Pharmaceutical Journal reported.

Aspirin appears to help stop blood clotting in the lungs, he said.

"Clotting is a big problem" with the coronavirus, he said. "Aspirin is a widely available, cheap drug which, if it were to work, would be a huge boost."

Meanwhile, a study overseen  by the University of Maryland School of Medicine showed that COVID patients had fewer complications when they took aspirin.

Researchers examined 412 patients who had coronavirus, according to the study published in Anesthesia and Analgesia . The study said 98 of those patients received aspirin a week before hospital admission, or within 24 hours of admission. The others didn't.

The patients given aspirin were 43% less likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU), 44% less likely to be placed on mechanical ventilation, and 47% less likely to die in the hospital, the study concluded, according to a news release from the medical school.

"This is a critical finding that needs to be confirmed through a randomized clinical trial," study leader Jonathan Chow, MD, an assistant professor of anesthesiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine said, according to a news release. "If our finding is confirmed, it would make aspirin the first widely available, over-the-counter medication to reduce mortality in COVID-19 patients."

Sources:

The Pharmaceutical Journal. "Aspirin added to RECOVERY COVID-19 trial, MPs told"
https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/news-and-analysis/news/aspirin-added-to-recovery-covid-19-trial-mps-told/20208522.article?firstPass=false

Anesthesia and Analgesia. "Aspirin Use is Associated with Decreased Mechanical Ventilation, ICU Admission, and In-Hospital Mortality in Hospitalized Patients with COVID-19"
https://journals.lww.com/anesthesia-analgesia/Abstract/9000/Aspirin_Use_is_Associated_with_Decreased.95423.aspx

University of Maryland School of Medicine. "New Landmark Study at UM School of Medicine Finds Aspirin Use Reduces Risk of Death in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients"
https://www.medschool.umaryland.edu/news/2020/New-Landmark-Study-at-UM-School-of-Medicine-Finds-Aspirin-Use-Reduces-Risk-of-Death-in-Hospitalized-COVID-19-Patients.html#:~:text=Hospitalized%20COVID%2D19%20patients%20who,School%20of%20Medicine%20(UMSOM)

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