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Concept: Aspirin

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The US Preventive Services Task Force recently recommended the use of aspirin to prevent colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease among many US adults. However, the association of aspirin use with the risk for other cancer types and the potential population-wide effect of aspirin use on cancer, particularly within the context of screening, remain uncertain.

Concepts: Cancer, Disease, Cardiovascular disease, Colorectal cancer, The Association, Aspirin

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The usefulness of aspirin to defend against cardiovascular disease in both primary and secondary settings is well recognized by the medical profession. Multiple studies also have found that daily aspirin significantly reduces cancer incidence and mortality. Despite these proven health benefits, aspirin use remains low among populations targeted by cardiovascular prevention guidelines. This article seeks to determine the long-term economic and population-health impact of broader use of aspirin by older Americans at higher risk for cardiovascular disease.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Disease, Death, Demography, United States, Economics, Aspirin

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Background Although many patients with venous thromboembolism require extended treatment, it is uncertain whether it is better to use full- or lower-intensity anticoagulation therapy or aspirin. Methods In this randomized, double-blind, phase 3 study, we assigned 3396 patients with venous thromboembolism to receive either once-daily rivaroxaban (at doses of 20 mg or 10 mg) or 100 mg of aspirin. All the study patients had completed 6 to 12 months of anticoagulation therapy and were in equipoise regarding the need for continued anticoagulation. Study drugs were administered for up to 12 months. The primary efficacy outcome was symptomatic recurrent fatal or nonfatal venous thromboembolism, and the principal safety outcome was major bleeding. Results A total of 3365 patients were included in the intention-to-treat analyses (median treatment duration, 351 days). The primary efficacy outcome occurred in 17 of 1107 patients (1.5%) receiving 20 mg of rivaroxaban and in 13 of 1127 patients (1.2%) receiving 10 mg of rivaroxaban, as compared with 50 of 1131 patients (4.4%) receiving aspirin (hazard ratio for 20 mg of rivaroxaban vs. aspirin, 0.34; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.20 to 0.59; hazard ratio for 10 mg of rivaroxaban vs. aspirin, 0.26; 95% CI, 0.14 to 0.47; P<0.001 for both comparisons). Rates of major bleeding were 0.5% in the group receiving 20 mg of rivaroxaban, 0.4% in the group receiving 10 mg of rivaroxaban, and 0.3% in the aspirin group; the rates of clinically relevant nonmajor bleeding were 2.7%, 2.0%, and 1.8%, respectively. The incidence of adverse events was similar in all three groups. Conclusions Among patients with venous thromboembolism in equipoise for continued anticoagulation, the risk of a recurrent event was significantly lower with rivaroxaban at either a treatment dose (20 mg) or a prophylactic dose (10 mg) than with aspirin, without a significant increase in bleeding rates. (Funded by Bayer Pharmaceuticals; EINSTEIN CHOICE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02064439 .).

Concepts: Clinical trial, Blood, Stroke, Thrombosis, Warfarin, Dose, Aspirin, Bayer

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Discovering the unintended ‘off-targets’ that predict adverse drug reactions is daunting by empirical methods alone. Drugs can act on several protein targets, some of which can be unrelated by conventional molecular metrics, and hundreds of proteins have been implicated in side effects. Here we use a computational strategy to predict the activity of 656 marketed drugs on 73 unintended ‘side-effect’ targets. Approximately half of the predictions were confirmed, either from proprietary databases unknown to the method or by new experimental assays. Affinities for these new off-targets ranged from 1 nM to 30 μM. To explore relevance, we developed an association metric to prioritize those new off-targets that explained side effects better than any known target of a given drug, creating a drug-target-adverse drug reaction network. Among these new associations was the prediction that the abdominal pain side effect of the synthetic oestrogen chlorotrianisene was mediated through its newly discovered inhibition of the enzyme cyclooxygenase-1. The clinical relevance of this inhibition was borne out in whole human blood platelet aggregation assays. This approach may have wide application to de-risking toxicological liabilities in drug discovery.

Concepts: Scientific method, Pharmacology, Blood, Chemotherapy, Platelet, Aspirin, Adverse drug reaction, Iatrogenesis

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Background Stroke is common during the first few weeks after a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or minor ischemic stroke. Combination therapy with clopidogrel and aspirin may provide greater protection against subsequent stroke than aspirin alone. Methods In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted at 114 centers in China, we randomly assigned 5170 patients within 24 hours after the onset of minor ischemic stroke or high-risk TIA to combination therapy with clopidogrel and aspirin (clopidogrel at an initial dose of 300 mg, followed by 75 mg per day for 90 days, plus aspirin at a dose of 75 mg per day for the first 21 days) or to placebo plus aspirin (75 mg per day for 90 days). All participants received open-label aspirin at a clinician-determined dose of 75 to 300 mg on day 1. The primary outcome was stroke (ischemic or hemorrhagic) during 90 days of follow-up in an intention-to-treat analysis. Treatment differences were assessed with the use of a Cox proportional-hazards model, with study center as a random effect. Results Stroke occurred in 8.2% of patients in the clopidogrel-aspirin group, as compared with 11.7% of those in the aspirin group (hazard ratio, 0.68; 95% confidence interval, 0.57 to 0.81; P<0.001). Moderate or severe hemorrhage occurred in seven patients (0.3%) in the clopidogrel-aspirin group and in eight (0.3%) in the aspirin group (P=0.73); the rate of hemorrhagic stroke was 0.3% in each group. Conclusions Among patients with TIA or minor stroke who can be treated within 24 hours after the onset of symptoms, the combination of clopidogrel and aspirin is superior to aspirin alone for reducing the risk of stroke in the first 90 days and does not increase the risk of hemorrhage. (Funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China; CHANCE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00979589 .).

Concepts: Blood, Stroke, Transient ischemic attack, People's Republic of China, Subarachnoid hemorrhage, Aspirin, Randomness, People's Republic

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Background In patients with atrial fibrillation undergoing percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) with placement of stents, standard anticoagulation with a vitamin K antagonist plus dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) with a P2Y12 inhibitor and aspirin reduces the risk of thrombosis and stroke but increases the risk of bleeding. The effectiveness and safety of anticoagulation with rivaroxaban plus either one or two antiplatelet agents are uncertain. Methods We randomly assigned 2124 participants with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation who had undergone PCI with stenting to receive, in a 1:1:1 ratio, low-dose rivaroxaban (15 mg once daily) plus a P2Y12 inhibitor for 12 months (group 1), very-low-dose rivaroxaban (2.5 mg twice daily) plus DAPT for 1, 6, or 12 months (group 2), or standard therapy with a dose-adjusted vitamin K antagonist (once daily) plus DAPT for 1, 6, or 12 months (group 3). The primary safety outcome was clinically significant bleeding (a composite of major bleeding or minor bleeding according to Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction [TIMI] criteria or bleeding requiring medical attention). Results The rates of clinically significant bleeding were lower in the two groups receiving rivaroxaban than in the group receiving standard therapy (16.8% in group 1, 18.0% in group 2, and 26.7% in group 3; hazard ratio for group 1 vs. group 3, 0.59; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.47 to 0.76; P<0.001; hazard ratio for group 2 vs. group 3, 0.63; 95% CI, 0.50 to 0.80; P<0.001). The rates of death from cardiovascular causes, myocardial infarction, or stroke were similar in the three groups (Kaplan-Meier estimates, 6.5% in group 1, 5.6% in group 2, and 6.0% in group 3; P values for all comparisons were nonsignificant). Conclusions In participants with atrial fibrillation undergoing PCI with placement of stents, the administration of either low-dose rivaroxaban plus a P2Y12 inhibitor for 12 months or very-low-dose rivaroxaban plus DAPT for 1, 6, or 12 months was associated with a lower rate of clinically significant bleeding than was standard therapy with a vitamin K antagonist plus DAPT for 1, 6, or 12 months. The three groups had similar efficacy rates, although the observed broad confidence intervals diminish the surety of any conclusions regarding efficacy. (Funded by Janssen Scientific Affairs and Bayer Pharmaceuticals; PIONEER AF-PCI ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01830543 .).

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Cardiology, Percutaneous coronary intervention, Stroke, Atrial fibrillation, Warfarin, Aspirin, Anticoagulant

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Background Peripheral artery disease is considered to be a manifestation of systemic atherosclerosis with associated adverse cardiovascular and limb events. Data from previous trials have suggested that patients receiving clopidogrel monotherapy had a lower risk of cardiovascular events than those receiving aspirin. We wanted to compare clopidogrel with ticagrelor, a potent antiplatelet agent, in patients with peripheral artery disease. Methods In this double-blind, event-driven trial, we randomly assigned 13,885 patients with symptomatic peripheral artery disease to receive monotherapy with ticagrelor (90 mg twice daily) or clopidogrel (75 mg once daily). Patients were eligible if they had an ankle-brachial index (ABI) of 0.80 or less or had undergone previous revascularization of the lower limbs. The primary efficacy end point was a composite of adjudicated cardiovascular death, myocardial infarction, or ischemic stroke. The primary safety end point was major bleeding. The median follow-up was 30 months. Results The median age of the patients was 66 years, and 72% were men; 43% were enrolled on the basis of the ABI and 57% on the basis of previous revascularization. The mean baseline ABI in all patients was 0.71, 76.6% of the patients had claudication, and 4.6% had critical limb ischemia. The primary efficacy end point occurred in 751 of 6930 patients (10.8%) receiving ticagrelor and in 740 of 6955 (10.6%) receiving clopidogrel (hazard ratio, 1.02; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.92 to 1.13; P=0.65). In each group, acute limb ischemia occurred in 1.7% of the patients (hazard ratio, 1.03; 95% CI, 0.79 to 1.33; P=0.85) and major bleeding in 1.6% (hazard ratio, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.84 to 1.43; P=0.49). Conclusions In patients with symptomatic peripheral artery disease, ticagrelor was not shown to be superior to clopidogrel for the reduction of cardiovascular events. Major bleeding occurred at similar rates among the patients in the two trial groups. (Funded by AstraZeneca; EUCLID ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01732822 .).

Concepts: Myocardial infarction, Atherosclerosis, Coronary artery disease, Cardiovascular disease, Stroke, Peripheral vascular disease, Cardiovascular system, Aspirin

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Background Studies have suggested an association between frequent acetaminophen use and asthma-related complications among children, leading some physicians to recommend that acetaminophen be avoided in children with asthma; however, appropriately designed trials evaluating this association in children are lacking. Methods In a multicenter, prospective, randomized, double-blind, parallel-group trial, we enrolled 300 children (age range, 12 to 59 months) with mild persistent asthma and assigned them to receive either acetaminophen or ibuprofen when needed for the alleviation of fever or pain over the course of 48 weeks. The primary outcome was the number of asthma exacerbations that led to treatment with systemic glucocorticoids. Children in both groups received standardized asthma-controller therapies that were used in a simultaneous, factorially linked trial. Results Participants received a median of 5.5 doses (interquartile range, 1.0 to 15.0) of trial medication; there was no significant between-group difference in the median number of doses received (P=0.47). The number of asthma exacerbations did not differ significantly between the two groups, with a mean of 0.81 per participant with acetaminophen and 0.87 per participant with ibuprofen over 46 weeks of follow-up (relative rate of asthma exacerbations in the acetaminophen group vs. the ibuprofen group, 0.94; 95% confidence interval, 0.69 to 1.28; P=0.67). In the acetaminophen group, 49% of participants had at least one asthma exacerbation and 21% had at least two, as compared with 47% and 24%, respectively, in the ibuprofen group. Similarly, no significant differences were detected between acetaminophen and ibuprofen with respect to the percentage of asthma-control days (85.8% and 86.8%, respectively; P=0.50), use of an albuterol rescue inhaler (2.8 and 3.0 inhalations per week, respectively; P=0.69), unscheduled health care utilization for asthma (0.75 and 0.76 episodes per participant, respectively; P=0.94), or adverse events. Conclusions Among young children with mild persistent asthma, as-needed use of acetaminophen was not shown to be associated with a higher incidence of asthma exacerbations or worse asthma control than was as-needed use of ibuprofen. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health; AVICA ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01606319 .).

Concepts: Asthma, Median, Interquartile range, Paracetamol, Aspirin, Normal distribution, Inhaler, Nebulizer

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Salicylate and acetylsalicylic acid are potent and widely used anti-inflammatory drugs. They are thought to exert their therapeutic effects through multiple mechanisms, including the inhibition of cyclo-oxygenases, modulation of NF-κB activity, and direct activation of AMPK. However, the full spectrum of their activities is incompletely understood. Here we show that salicylate specifically inhibits CBP and p300 lysine acetyltransferase activity in vitro by direct competition with acetyl-Coenzyme A at the catalytic site. We used a chemical structure-similarity search to identify another anti-inflammatory drug, diflunisal, that inhibits p300 more potently than salicylate. At concentrations attainable in human plasma after oral administration, both salicylate and diflunisal blocked the acetylation of lysine residues on histone and non-histone proteins in cells. Finally, we found that diflunisal suppressed the growth of p300-dependent leukemia cell lines expressing AML1-ETO fusion protein in vitro and in vivo. These results highlight a novel epigenetic regulatory mechanism of action for salicylate and derivative drugs.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Enzyme inhibitor, Anti-inflammatory, Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Aspirin, Acetyl

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Aspirin has been shown to lower the incidence and the mortality of vascular disease and cancer but its wider adoption appears to be seriously impeded by concerns about gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding. Unlike heart attacks, stroke and cancer, GI bleeding is an acute event, usually followed by complete recovery. We propose therefore that a more appropriate evaluation of the risk-benefit balance would be based on fatal adverse events, rather than on the incidence of bleeding. We therefore present a literature search and meta-analysis to ascertain fatal events attributable to low-dose aspirin.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Medical statistics, Systematic review, Randomized controlled trial, Stroke, Gastroenterology, Aspirin, Gastrointestinal bleeding