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Aspirin prevents ‘mini-strokes’

Delthia Ricks Newsday

Aspirin, now more than 150 years old, is still producing surprises, say doctors who in one study find it as good as a more expensive drug in preventing “mini-strokes.”

Just four tablets taken daily better protects people from the tiny strokes known as intracranial arterial stenosis than does the more potent warfarin, say a team of researchers reporting in today’s New England Journal of Medicine.

Scientists from throughout the country said if all U.S. doctors simply switched to regular strength aspirin for patients at elevated risk, there would be a savings of more than $20 million a year.

Patients would no longer need regular blood-testing, required for those on wafarin, which is marketed by Bristol-Myers Squibb as Coumadin.

Moreover, researchers found the death rate among the 289 patients on warfarin was more than twice that of the 280 patients taking aspirin. Additionally, patients on warfarin were more likely to experience hemorrhaging.

Intracranial arterial stenosis is an obstruction of arteries in the brain, which doctors attribute to fatty deposits that develop along inner arterial walls. The condition causes about 10 percent of the 900,000 so-called mini-strokes in the United States a year.

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