Based on findings of a recent study researchers suggest stroke survivors who stop taking their prescribed daily aspirin are three-times more likely to have another stroke within the month.
Researchers studied more than 300 stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) patients who were on long-term aspirin therapy for preventing subsequent strokes or heart attacks. TIA is a transient stroke that lasts only a few minutes. Researchers also studied a similar population of patients taking aspirin who suffered a stroke more than six months prior. They found 13 patients in the stroke group stopped taking aspirin within four weeks before their stroke, while only four patients who suffered a stroke months earlier did. Patients with stroke or TIA were more than three-times more likely to have interrupted their aspirin regimen than patients with similar risk factors but no new stroke or TIA. Nearly 80 percent of the ischemic strokes related to aspirin discontinuation occurred in the first eight days after aspirin was stopped. The remaining number of patients had ischemic strokes within the month.
In conclusion researchers say though the risk of suffering a substantial stroke during a short period of aspirin discontinuation is probably not very high, the difference is meaningful, and patients and physicians should be informed about the potential risk.