September 14, 2017 – Aspirin Plus
Anchor lead: Just how much blood thinning do you need? Elizabeth Tracey reports
If you have heart disease you may already be taking aspirin daily. Now a major new study known by the acronym COMPASS shows it might be wise for you to take another drug in addition to aspirin. Michael Blaha, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins, explains the findings.
Blaha: Currently we treat these patients with aspirin alone. We always thought the addition of something like an antithrombotic drug would lead to unacceptable increases in bleeding. But this study showed that a low dose of an antithrombotic like rivaroxaban can reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, or even death to a greater degree than a mild increase in bleeding. So we think now that there’s a net benefit in patients with stable coronary artery disease to actually thin the blood a little more than we had before. :29
Blaha notes that previous drugs available for further blood thinning came with a constellation of issues, such as having to closely monitor drug levels to balance risks and benefits. Rivaroxaban is much easier to use, he says. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.