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article imageAspirin may be 'safe' for brain-bleed strokes

By Tim Sandle     May 24, 2019 in Health
Edinburgh - People who have suffered a stroke can reduce the risk of a future strike by taking aspirin each day, according to a new study. As aspirin thins the blood, some medics had previously been cautious about recommending the drug to patients.
The new clinical evidence that people who have had a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain can lower future stroke risks (as well as reducing heart problems) by taking low daily doses of aspirin, comes from a study sponsored by the British Heart Foundation. By 'low dose' this is 75 milligrams. The study outcome is that taking aspirin does not increase the risk of new brain bleeds, and there is a "strong indication" that aspirin can reduce the risk of future strokes. The study notes that this finding needs to be confirmed by further research.
For the study, undertaken at the University of Edinburgh, scientists used a pool of 537 people from the U.K. who had had experienced a brain bleed while taking anti-platelet medicines, to stop blood clotting, including aspirin, dipyridamole or clopidogrel. Patients were randomly assigned to either start taking antiplatelet treatment or avoid it for up to five years. The group was divided into two, and half of the subjects continued on their medicine, and the second half did not take their prescribed medication.
Across five years of review, 12 patients who continued taking their tablets suffered a brain bleed, compared with 23 of those who stopped taking any medication.
Speaking with the BBC, Professor Metin Avkiran (British Heart Foundation) stated: "Around a third of people who suffer a brain haemorrhage, also known as haemorrhagic stroke, do so when they are taking an anti-platelet medicine, such as aspirin, to reduce the risk of a heart attack or an ischaemic [blood clot] stroke....We now have a strong indication they can carry on taking these potentially life-saving medicines after the brain haemorrhage without increasing the risk of another one, which is crucial new information for both patients and doctors."
In the context of the study, it remains that people should only daily aspirin if their medical doctor recommends it (aspirin is not safe for everyone and it can cause indigestion and sometimes lead to stomach ulcers). The research has been published in the medical journal The Lancet, with the study titled "Effects of antiplatelet therapy after stroke due to intracerebral haemorrhage (RESTART): a randomised, open-label trial."
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