Review on Aspirin to Treat and Prevent Heart Attacks and Commentary on Aspirin to Prevent Colorectal and Other Cancers

Released: 8-May-2013 8:00 AM EDT
Source Newsroom: Florida Atlantic University
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Citations American Journal of Medicine; Clinical Investigation

FAU Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine Professor Publishes Review on Aspirin in Treatment and Prevention of Heart Attacks as well as Commentary to Advise Doctors -
Review Published in the American Journal of Medicine and Commentary Published in Clinical Investigation

Newswise — Charles H. Hennekens, M.D., Dr.P.H., the first Sir Richard Doll professor and senior academic advisor to the dean in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University published a review for clinicians on the optimal utilization of aspirin to treat and prevent heart attacks. This update was published in the current issue of the American Journal of Medicine by Hennekens and James E. Dalen, M.D., M.P.H., dean emeritus, University of Arizona College of Medicine and executive director of the Weil Foundation. In a commentary published in Clinical Investigation, Hennekens and David J. Bjorkman, M.D., M.S.P.H., dean and executive director of medical affairs for the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine consider the emerging evidence on aspirin in the prevention of colorectal and other cancers and provide advice to doctors.

“All patients suffering from blockage of an artery in the heart or brain should receive 325 mg regular aspirin promptly and daily aspirin thereafter to reduce their death rate as well as subsequent heart attacks and strokes,” said Hennekens. In addition, he also stressed that "among long-term survivors of prior heart attacks, occlusive strokes or blockages in the arteries of the legs, aspirin should be continued long-term unless there is a specific contraindication."

Hennekens and Bjorkman advise doctors that, based on the current totality of evidence, in the primary prevention of vascular disease and cancer, any judgments about prescribing long-term aspirin therapy for apparently healthy individuals should be based on individual clinical judgments between the doctor and each of his or her patients. General guidelines that advocate the routine use of aspirin in all apparently healthy individuals do not seem to be justified for the primary prevention of either cardiovascular disease (CVD) or cancer. The increasing burden of CVD in developed and developing countries underscores the need for more widespread therapeutic lifestyle changes as well as the adjunctive use of drug therapies of proven net benefit in the primary prevention of CVD. These should include statins to lower cholesterol, and the multiple drug therapies likely to be necessary to achieve control of high blood pressure.

Hennekens was the first to discover that aspirin prevents a first heart attack and has lifesaving benefits when given during a heart attack or among long-term survivors of prior events. Science Watch ranked Hennekens as the third most widely cited medical researcher in the world from 1995-2005, and five of the top 20 were his former trainees and/or fellows. In 2012, Science Heroes ranked Hennekens No. 81 in the history of the world for having saved more than 1.1 million lives. On March 2, the American Heart Association honored the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine as well as Hennekens, Dick and Barbara Schmidt, and Bjorkman for their past, current, and future contributions to reducing suffering and death from heart attacks and strokes. On May 1, Hennekens received the Presidential Award from his alma mater, Queens College, the highest honor bestowed upon any graduate.

– FAU –

About Florida Atlantic University:
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit www.fau.edu.


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