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What is Aspirin Resistance?

Article Details
  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 10 June 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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Medical professionals often recommend a daily dose of aspirin to those who are at high risk for heart, or cardiovascular, diseases or disorders. A small percentage of the population does not respond to this aspirin therapy and is considered to have aspirin resistance. This is thought to be caused by existing health disorders or even from other medications the patient may be taking. Aspirin resistance is often able to be treated with the use of other medications.

When a patient suffers a stroke or heart attack while taking a daily dose of aspirin, he or she is considered to have aspirin resistance. There are several possible causes for this, including plaque buildup in the blood vessels that causes these vessels to become constricted or narrowed in spite of the fact that the patient is on aspirin therapy. Blood clotting disorders could also be responsible for the development of aspirin resistance. Sometimes the aspirin dosage was simply too low before the cardiovascular event. In this instance, doctors may recommend a higher dosage in an effort to reduce the risks of future complications.

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Frequently, a patient who is suspected of having aspirin resistance has simply not been diligent in taking the medication as prescribed. If this is the case, strict adherence to the proper dosage amount could prevent further medical emergencies. Certain medications, such as ibuprofen, could interfere with aspirin's ability to aid in cardiovascular health. It is important that the patient disclose all medications that are taken to the doctor, even if the medications are over the counter or vitamin supplements.

Certain groups of people tend to have a higher risk of developing aspirin resistance than others. Women, for example, are affected more often than men, although no clear cause for this has been made. People who are overweight or suffer from medical conditions such as diabetes seem to be at greater risk as well. As a person ages or begins to develop blood flow problems, the risk factors for aspirin resistance increase.

There are some potential treatments for those who have been diagnosed as having aspirin resistance. Since certain pain relievers can lead to this condition, these medications can often be changed. If this is not possible or desirable to the patient, the aspirin should be taken about 30 minutes before the pain medication. If these methods are not satisfactory and increasing the aspirin dosage has not helped, the doctor may prescribe a prescription medication to replace the aspirin in the patient's medication regimen.

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