Take aspirin before bed to cut morning heart risk

Take aspirin before bed to cut morning heart risk

Taking aspirin before going to bed might reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack in the morning, according to a new study.

A trial involving 290 heart attack patients has shown that taking just one 100mg tablet before going to bed was more effective than taking it in the morning.

Researchers found that platelet levels were lower in patents who took the painkiller, which thins the blood and prevents clotting, at night. Platelets, which lead to the formation of blood clots, tend to reach their peak in the morning.

This means that the risk of heart attack is often at its highest shortly before or just after waking up.

However, the findings by researchers at the Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, showed that taking aspirin before bed could reduce this peak. They found that it was up to 22 units lower if taken before bed.

Tobias Bonten, one of the researchers who led the study, said: “Higher platelet activity contributes to a higher risk of acute heart events. “This simple intervention – switching aspirin intake from morning to bedtime – could be beneficial for the millions of patients with heart disease who take aspirin on a daily basis.”

The latest results from the Aspirin in Reduction of Tensions II trial were presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions meeting in Dallas, Texas. The 290 heart patients were told to take aspirin either before going to bed or upon waking over two three month periods. At the end of each period their blood pressure and platelet activity was measured.

While changing the time at which the drug was taken did not affect blood pressure, another risk factor for heart attacks, it did lower the platelet activity. The scientists say this should also reduce the risk of suffering a heart attack in the morning when platelets are normally at their highest.

Previous research has shown that heart attacks are more likely and more severe between 6am and midday, with patients suffering 20 per cent more damage to their hearts. Around 103,000 people suffer a heart attack in the UK each year and an estimated 1.3 million people are now living in the UK after suffering a heart attack

Many of these will be taking aspirin on a daily basis to reduce the risk of suffering another heart attack. Previous studies have shown it can lower the risk by 10 per cent.

In his abstract to his presentation to the AHA, Mr Bonten said: "Simply changing the time of intake could make the use of this drug even more effective in preventing recurrent CVD without any additional costs."

However, the findings come less than a month after experts warned that taking aspirin on a daily basis can also carry other unintended side effects such as internal bleeding.

In a paper for the National Institute for Health Research, they said taking aspirin each day could increase the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding by 37 per cent and increased the risk of haemorrhagic stroke by between 32 to 38 per cent. However, they said it could also produce a 15 per cent drop in heart disease and a 10 per cent drop in heart attacks and stroke.

This, they said could say up to 46 lives for every 100,000 people taking the treatment.



By Richard Gray


The Telegraph. Wednesday 20th November

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