Monday, January 23, 2006—The benefits of taking aspirin regularly differs between men and women, reducing the risk of heart attacks in men while reducing the risk of strokes in women, researchers said on Tuesday.

A review of six previous studies found regular aspirin use lowered women’s risk of suffering a stroke by 17 percent compared to nonusers, while not having any effect on their chances of having a heart attack or of dying from cardiovascular disease.

Aspirin’s potent benefit for men was to reduce their chances of a heart attack by 32 percent, while having no impact on their risk of stroke or cardiovascular death.

“This is good news because many of the past studies of the effect of aspirin in preventing cardiovascular events looked only at men, so physicians were reluctant to prescribe aspirin for women because there was little data,” said study author Dr. Jeffrey Berger of Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Now, doctors can recommend aspirin to women, though he added that “more research is needed to better understand (gender) differences in cardiovascular responses to aspirin.”

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