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"Review shows Aspirin helps men, women differently"


Source: CBC.CA

Published: 17 Jan 2022

Category: Pharmaceutical

Rating: (4 stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Women can benefit from taking a daily dose of Aspirin like men, but the drug's protective effects vary, a new review suggests.

For more than a decade, men and women have been told Aspirin, or ASA, prevents heart attacks.

But a review of six clinical trials, which followed 95,456 people without coronary artery disease who took low-dose ASA or a placebo, shows that men taking the drug tend to have fewer heart attacks, while women have fewer strokes.

The study is in the Jan. 18 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.....

The original article can found in the Media Doctor archives.

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 6 of 8
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Applicable
Costs of Treatment Not Applicable
Evidence Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Not Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

This story about the benefits of ASA in preventing heart attacks and strokes is well done, with only a few bits of information that would balance the report. It scores well in terms of the quantification of benefits, saying that in those "taking ASA over six years, a stroke will be prevented in three in 1,000 women, and a heart attack prevented in four in 1,000 men," but doesn't do the same for the harms, noting that "those taking ASA are at higher risk of serious gastrointestinal bleeding." And if high dose formulations have more dangers associated with them, how much danger, compared to low dose formulations?

The question any consumer might have when they see their doctor is: "Given the nature of the benefit (3 or 4 in 1000), how does this compare to the potential harm?" ASA is cheap, freely available, and as this report indicates, well-studied and a possible important addition to exercise and diet in maintaining one's health. The story could have provided the information the reader needs instead

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