More than 70% of people with ASCVD take aspirin on a regular basis

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More than 70 percent of adults with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) in 2013 took aspirin daily or every other day to reduce the risk for myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke and fatal coronary events, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report.

The survey, released on July 17, examined 17,984 people from 20 states and the District of Columbia who had a history of coronary heart disease and/or stroke. The data was part of the 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) annual telephone survey.

Lead researcher Jing Fang, MD, of the CDC, and colleagues found 70.8 percent of the adult respondents used aspirin regularly. Of that group, 93.6 percent used aspirin for heart attack prevention, 79.6 percent for stroke prevention and 76.2 percent for heart attack and stroke prevention.

People were more likely to take aspirin if they were 65 or older, male, non-Hispanic whites and had at least two other ASCVD risk factors.

Fang and colleagues noted a few study limitations, including that guidelines recommend aspirin or other antiplatelet medications to prevent recurrent events, but the BRFSS did not collect data on antiplatelet use. In addition, using aspirin is contraindicated after a hemorrhagic stroke, but BRFSS did not distinguish between hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke. Further, the data was self-reported and people do not need to have a prescription to purchase aspirin, which may have led to a recall bias. Finally, the confidence intervals were wide for the state estimates because the sample sizes were small.