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Aspirin May Help Deep Vein Thrombosis

An Italian study shows that aspirin is as effective as warfarin (Coumadin) as a blood-thinner.  Anticoagulant or blood-thinning therapy is a method used to stop a clot that happens in 20% of patients. Warfarin when used on a longer basis increases bleeding hazards so a study was conducted if aspirin may be an option.

Dr. Cecilia Becattini, the study’s lead researcher, said that the regular anticoagulant therapy can also reduce the incidence of venous thromboembolism and deep vein thrombosis minus the increased complications. Dr. Becattini further stated that aspirin may be given as a substitute after taking warfarin but this should be discussed with the patient’s doctor.

The research was published by the New England Journal of Medicine.  The journal editorial listed venous thromboembolism (VTE), deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism as occurring in 2 to 3 for every 1,000 individuals annually.

The hazards of deep vein thrombosis is when the clot detaches itself from where it is attached or located and it travels with the blood going to the heart, brain or lungs.  When this happens it can lead to heart attacks, difficulty of breathing, stroke or death.

The study was made on 402 subjects. Aspirin was given to some and a placebo given to others.  The subjects underwent 6 to 18 months of anticoagulant treatment before they were assigned aspirin. The subjects all had first episodes of venous thromboembolism without displaying risk factors.

6.6% of those who took aspirin after 2 years of follow-up had an occurrence of the venous thromboembolism. 11.2% of those who had the placebo had the reoccurrence as well. Bleeding occurred in 1 patient for both groups.

From the test data, the researchers concluded that the recurrence of the venous thromboembolism including deep vein thrombosis was reduced with the intake of aspirin and the stopping of the anticoagulant treatment. There were no issues on bleeding.

Dr. Richard Becker, a medical professor from Duke University, noted that the finding is still at an initial stage and that aspirin should not be made a standard for the remedy of deep vein thrombosis at this point in time. He also added that the number of test subjects were not so significant to change the usual medical practice. Currently, there are 2 large group studies being made and hopefully this will support the study presented.  Conclusions from the studies underway can highlight that aspirin is a viable option especially those prone to bleeding with warfarin. Dr. Becker emphasized that it is difficult to change what is a known practice of giving warfarin as an anticoagulant treatment without looking at a bigger number of participants.  There are also alternatives other than aspirin.

There are already submissions for approval of the FDA by the manufacturers of rivaroxaban (Xarelto) which is a Xa oral anticoagulant for treatment of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism as well as a deterrent for VTE. Another drug Dabigatran which is an oral direct thrombin inhibitor has already been approved to prevent strokes of patients with atrial fibrillation. Contact a vein specialist to learn more about reducing the risk of deep vein thrombosis.

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