TUESDAY, June 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Aspirin use for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is higher for older adults with versus those without diabetes, according to a study published online June 21 in JAMA Network Open.

Elizabeth Y. Liu, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional analysis using nationally representative data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2011 to 2018 to examine the prevalence of preventive aspirin use in older U.S. adults. A total of 7,103 individuals aged 60 years or older with and without diabetes completed a questionnaire relating to preventive aspirin use.

The researchers found that 61.7 and 42.2 percent of those with and without diabetes used aspirin, respectively. Among those with diabetes, the likelihood of using aspirin did not differ for older versus younger age categories (reference, 60 to 69 years) after adjustment for race, sex, education, CVD risk category, and body mass index. For those without diabetes, aspirin use was significantly higher in older age versus reference categories (odds ratios, 1.50 and 1.50 for age 70 to 79 and ≥80 years, respectively). Among U.S. adults aged 70 years or older with or without diabetes, an estimated 9.9 million reported taking aspirin for primary prevention. For those at high versus low risk for CVD, the likelihood of aspirin use for primary prevention did not differ for those with diabetes, but was significantly higher in those without diabetes (odds ratio, 2.46). Compared with men, women were less likely to be using aspirin for primary prevention (odds ratio, 0.63).

“These findings suggest a greater need for health care providers to ask their older patients about aspirin use and, given recent guideline changes, to discuss the risks and benefits of continuing aspirin treatment for CVD prevention,” the authors write.

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