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Long-Term Aspirin May Cut All-Cause Mortality in Women

Findings pronounced in older women, those with cardiovascular risk

MONDAY, March 26 (HealthDay News) -- Long-term aspirin use may lower the risk of all-cause mortality for women, especially older women and those who have cardiovascular risk factors, according to a report in the March 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Andrew Chan, M.D., from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted a prospective study of 79,439 women with no history of cardiovascular disease or cancer enrolled in the Nurses' Health Study to determine the influence of long-term aspirin use on total mortality in women.

The authors documented 9,477 deaths during the 24-year study period. Compared with no aspirin use, current use of aspirin cut all-cause mortality by 25 percent and cardiovascular disease mortality by 38 percent. The effect was more apparent in older women and in those with cardiovascular risk factors. Any effect on cancer rates, however, was not seen until after 10 years of aspirin use.

"These new findings by Chan et al. cannot overcome the accumulated evidence that aspirin is not particularly effective for the primary prevention of death from cardiovascular disease in women," warns John A. Baron, M.D., of Dartmouth Medical School in Lebanon, N.H., in an accompanying editorial. He argues that the Women's Health Study, which included 40,000 women, found no difference in mortality from aspirin use over 11 years.

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