New research suggests taking daily aspirin might not help us prevent heart disease—or worse yet—millions of American adults could be putting themselves at greater risk using daily aspirin.
The study, published in Annals of Internal Medicine, found that nearly half of people over aged 70 years who don't have heart disease—about 10 million—were taking daily aspirin for prevention. People who have had a cardiovascular event—heart attack, stroke, or those diagnosed with heart disease—are recommended a daily low-dose aspirin.
However, aspirin use has recently been discouraged in those older patients who do not have heart disease.
“Patient confusion is understandable, considering that for years, clinicians recommended regular aspirin use for older adults regardless of heart disease risk,” according to Steven Lobel, PhD, D-ABMLI, MBA, FACB, laboratory director at LifeBrite Laboratories, an accredited, national medical laboratory services provider located in Atlanta. “Education for providers and patients alike is a key component of reversing the trend, but as we experience the transformative shift to value-based healthcare models, a significant opportunity exists for healthcare executives to incorporate innovative medication reconciliation and precision medicine techniques into their practice that provide better clinical decision support, increase patient data availability, and improve the accuracy of drugs.
Every year, the United States spends approximately $136 billion in healthcare costs from adverse drug reactions (ADRs), which is more than the total cost of cardiovascular or diabetic care, according to the FDA.
“The fragmented U.S. healthcare delivery system and failure to effectively share and leverage patient care data makes proper medication reconciliation and management difficult,” Lobel says.
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“What’s more: patients 65 and older are more than twice as likely as middle-age patients and nearly three times more likely than patients between 25 and 44 to experience adverse drug reactions serious enough to send them to a doctor or an ER.”
According to Lobel, with skyrocketing costs and millions of patient lives on the line, accurate medication reconciliation tools and pharmacogenetics can help reduce patient ADR risk and help avoid the lengthy/costly “trial and error” approach to prescriptions.
“Chronic care management laboratory panels are designed to objectively reconcile medications for patients taking one or more prescriptions and/or over the counter medications—which means that even for patients that don’t report aspirin use, physicians can be armed with accurate data to make appropriate medical decisions regarding the patient’s health and treatment regimen,” he says.
Additionally, Lobel says, pharmacogenetics is a vital component of precision medicine that studies how one’s genetic make-up (genotype) influences their response to drugs (or metabolizer type). “The pharmacogenomic approach provides valuable guidance on drug selection and dosage, making it possible to determine the right dose, for the right patient, at the right time,” Lobel says.
“Overall, healthcare providers and leaders should utilize the innovative techniques at their disposal and leverage strong support partners to identify drug safety signals as early as possible, thus minimizing potential clinical and economic consequences for patients,” he says.