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BMJ. 2000 Nov 11;321(7270):1183-7.

Risk of gastrointestinal haemorrhage with long term use of aspirin: meta-analysis.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Pharmacology, University of Oxford, Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford OX2 6HE.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To assess the incidence of gastrointestinal haemorrhage associated with long term aspirin therapy and to determine the effect of dose reduction and formulation on the incidence of such haemorrhage.

DESIGN:

Meta-analysis of 24 randomised controlled trials (almost 66 000 participants).

INTERVENTION:

Aspirin compared with placebo or no treatment, for a minimum of one year.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Incidence of gastrointestinal haemorrhage.

RESULTS:

Gastrointestinal haemorrhage occurred in 2.47% of patients taking aspirin compared with 1.42% taking placebo (odds ratio 1.68; 95% confidence interval 1.51 to 1.88); the number needed to harm was 106 (82 to 140) based on an average of 28 months' therapy. At doses below 163 mg/day, gastrointestinal haemorrhage occurred in 2.30% of patients taking aspirin compared with 1.45% taking placebo (1.59; 1.40 to 1.81). Meta-regression showed no relation between gastrointestinal haemorrhage and dose. For modified release formulations of aspirin the odds ratio was 1.93 (1.15 to 3.23).

CONCLUSIONS:

Long term therapy with aspirin is associated with a significant increase in the incidence of gastrointestinal haemorrhage. No evidence exists that reducing the dose or using modified release formulations would reduce the incidence of gastrointestinal haemorrhage.

Comment in

PMID:
11073508
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC27521
Free PMC Article

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