March 22, 2006 -- A new medical study shows that aspirin therapy can be just as effective in women as it is with men in preventing heart attacks and strokes. These findings directly contradict previous research, including the federal Women's Health Study, which found that aspirin could help men, but not women.
The report from Johns Hopkins University looked at 571 men and 711 women who were given baby aspirin for 14 days. It found that low doses of aspirin can indeed help women as much as men in reducing blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes. For both genders, the aspirin lowered the potential for clot-forming blood cells to stick together in narrow blood vessels.
"As long as women are not allergic to aspirin, or have not had bleeding problems associated with aspirin, I think they should talk to their doctor about this study and the possibility of starting to take daily baby aspirin," said ABC News' medical editor Dr. Tim Johnson.
More research is still needed, Johnson said.
"So now researchers will have to look at how much, and at what age women should start taking it," he said. "There might be a case for women taking it in primary prevention, which would be before any signs of inclination toward strokes and heart attacks show up."