Plavix – Aspirin Combo Linked to Higher Risk of Gastrointestinal bleeding

Taking low doses of aspirin along with the blood thinning drug <"">Plavix could increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding, according to a new study. According to a Reuters report, the authors of the study calculated that if 1,000 people not taking the Plavix-aspirin combo were to start such a regimen, an extra one to three of them would have stomach bleeding every year. The study is published in the journal Circulation.

To conduct the study, Spanish researchers analyzed a database of primary care patients in the UK which included all cases of stomach bleeding between 2000 and 2007 – a total of 2,049 people age 40 to 84. According to Reuters, they then found another 20,000 people that were similar to that group based on age and gender, but who had not had a stomach bleed during that time. The researchers compared records of these two groups to find out what medications individuals were currently taking and what they had been prescribed over the past year.

Of those that experienced gastrointestinal bleeding, 31 percent were taking low-dose aspirin at the time of the bleed, compared to 19 percent of people in the comparison group who did not have gastrointestinal bleeding, Reuters said. People taking both aspirin and Plavix were three to four times more likely to have a stomach bleed than those taking neither drug.

The study also looked at people taking aspirin along with a range of other drugs, including Coumadin and ibuprofen. Those individuals also had a higher risk of stomach bleeding compared to those taking aspirin alone.

But this is not the first time the Plavix- aspirin combination has been linked to a higher risk of bleeding. Recently, a study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found the risk of hemorrhaging among Plavix-aspirin patients was significantly higher than thought. While the CDC study did find that Coumadin was associated with a higher rate of bleeding than the Plavix-aspirin combo, the combination therapy did not do as well in that area as was expected. For both regimens, the number of hospital admissions because of bleeding was similar. And bleeding-related visits to emergency department visits were only 50 percent lower for those on the Plavix-aspirin combo.

A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine also found that patients taking Plavix are 12 times more likely to suffer recurrent ulcers and Plavix gastrointestinal bleeding than those who received a combination of aspirin and a heartburn pill.

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