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Expert Rev Cardiovasc Ther. 2008 Jan;6(1):95-107.

The need for wider and appropriate utilization of aspirin and statins in the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Science and Medical Education, florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA. chenneke@fau.edu


There is an increasing burden of occlusive cardiovascular disease (CVD) in developed, as well as in developing, countries. In fact, the WHO has projected that CVD will become the leading cause of death in the world in the next 10 years. The proximate cause of virtually all occlusive vascular events is thrombosis and the principal underlying cause is atherosclerosis. Aspirin, which inhibits platelet-dependent cyclooxygenase for the entire life of the platelet, has clinically important antithrombotic effects. Statins, which principally decrease low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides and increase high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, have clinically important antiatherogenic effects. In secondary prevention, in a wide range of patients who have survived a prior myocardial infarction (MI), occlusive stroke, transient ischemic attack, as well as other high-risk conditions, long-term use of aspirin confers statistically significant and clinically important reductions in MI, stroke and CVD death. In addition, aspirin confers similar benefits when administered during acute MI or acute occlusive stroke. In primary prevention, aspirin confers a statistically significant and clinically important reduction in risk of a first MI but the data on stroke and CVD death remain inconclusive, so aspirin should be prescribed on an individual basis by the healthcare provider who weighs this clear benefit against long-term side effects. In a meta-analysis of 14 randomized trials of 90,056 subjects treated for 5 years, statins confer statistically significant and clinically important reductions in MI, stroke, CVD death and total mortality. In a meta-analysis of randomized trials of statins, in which aspirin was used in varying frequencies, the combination of aspirin and statins conferred greater clinical benefits than either agent alone on MI, occlusive stroke and CVD death. At present, the wider and more appropriate use of aspirin and statins will reduce premature MI, stroke and CVD death.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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