It started off as a battle between two leading medical journals over the safety of statins and aspirin, and the results are proving to be a big win for heart patients everywhere.
Originally, the medical journal The Lancet published a major review stating that statins and aspirin were safe to come consume, with the benefits far outweighing any potential harm.
However, rival journal The BMJ began to cast a shadow over the Lancet’s findings, implying that adverse side effects were a lot more common than the study would suggest. Thankfully, in part to a recent study done by researchers in China, we now have some clearer answers.
Scientists at the Peking University Health Science Centre in Beijing tested medications, including aspirin, statins, beta-blockers and angiotensin receptor blockers on patients who were in hospital with acute coronary syndromes (ACS), and found that preventative medications could also be of benefit to patients who have heart attacks. They compared the effects of previous use of the medication in patients that had a history of cardiovascular disease with those who had been admitted with ACS for the first time.
The results revealed that prior use of the drugs by patients who had previously experienced ACS significantly reduced the seriousness of repeat ACS effects.
Dr Min Li, who was leading the study, said: ‘Our findings suggest that the benefits of these medications may extend beyond preventing ACS.
‘They may also reduce the severity of disease, and in-hospital adverse outcomes, in those who develop an ACS despite taking the drugs.
‘We provide further evidence of the preventive benefit of these medications, and urge patients to continue taking them long-term when advised to do so by their doctor.
‘Patients who still develop ACS while using the drugs should not lose confidence but continue to use them because they do help.’
These finding have caused quite a buzz in the medical community, with preventive medicine consistently proving more successful than post diagnostic treatment. In fact, this discovery is causing so much excitement that the European Society of Cardiology will present the findings at a congress in China next month.
Professor Michel Komajda, director of the ESC program, added: ‘We know that many heart attack patients stop taking their preventive medications.
‘We need to do more to encourage adherence, and to help patients adopt healthy lifestyle behavior.’