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Small study backs aspirin twice a day for type 2 diabetics

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Taking aspirin twice a day rather than just once may increase the chances of staving off cardiovascular disease in people with type 2 diabetes, suggests a new small-scale study.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of illness and death among people with type 2 diabetes. Current guidelines recommend taking aspirin once a day to benefit from its anti-clotting properties.

“Patients with type 2 diabetes may achieve additional benefit from twice daily rather than once daily dosing”

Study authors

However, researchers from Denmark said their findings, unveiled at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes’ annual meeting, suggested that a twice-daily dose may be more effective.

Aspirin works by preventing platelets in the blood clumping together to form clots, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

But this effect quite quickly wears off over time and taking aspirin just once a day has been shown to be less effective in people with type 2 diabetes and a history of cardiovascular disease.

The team from Aarhaus University Hospital set out to explore whether the same was true for people with type 2 diabetes who had not yet experienced heart or circulation problems.

They looked at the effect of a single dose of aspirin on “platelet aggregation” over 24 hours, comparing the impact for 21 people with type 2 diabetes, but without cardiovascular disease, with the effects on healthy people in a control group.

Participants in the six-day trial had their blood tested one hour after taking aspirin and again 24 hours after swallowing the pill.

The findings, presented today at the conference in Lisbon, Portugal, showed the ability of aspirin to prevent platelet aggregation diminished over time in both groups.

Given people with type 2 diabetes are more prone to blood clotting, the researchers said it might be better if they took aspirin twice a day to ensure maximum impact and help stop cardiovascular issues developing.

“Given that platelets in people with diabetes are characterised by increased aggregation and increased turnover rates, our study indicates that patients with type 2 diabetes may achieve additional benefit from twice daily rather than once daily dosing,” said the study authors.

However, they added that large-scale clinical trials were needed to confirm the safety and effectiveness of this approach.

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