Taking aspirin twice a day – rather than the currently recommended once daily – could protect type 2 diabetics from potentially deadly episodes including heart attack and stroke.
Cardiovascular disease, also known as heart disease or CVD, is the leading cause of illness and death in people with type 2 diabetes.
Aspirin, a drug which is available over the counter, has anti-clotting abilities.
Guidelines usually recommend people with type 2 diabetes take the drug once a day to reduce the risk of stroke.
The pill works by ensuring blood platelets are less likely to form clots which can lead to a stroke or heart attack.
However, studies have suggested that a once-daily aspirin does not work properly when platelet turnover is increased, as seen in people with type 2 diabetes.
Dr Liv Vernstroem and colleagues from Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark investigated whether the effect of aspirin declines during the 24 hour dosing interval in 21 people with type two diabetes without CVD.
They matched the participants to healthy controls after a week of low-dose aspirin treatment.
They also looked at whether patients with type 2 diabetes had increased platelet turnover compared to the control group.
Blood samples were taken at the start of the study, and one hour after intake of 75mg of aspirin to look at how the participants’ platelet function responded to aspirin.
WHAT IS A STROKE?
The participants were then treated for six days with once-daily aspirin.
Researchers found that aspirin-treated patients with type 2 diabetes without a history of CVD had an increase in platelet aggregation – clotting – through the standard 24 hour dosing interval.
This was also observed in the control group.
The researchers said the findings show the ability of aspirin to prevent blood clotting had declined during the dosing interval when aspirin was taken only once a day.
Dr Vernstroem said since patients with type 2 diabetes have an increased risk of CVD, could benefit from a twice daily dosing of aspirin could be more effective.
The researchers also discovered that patients with type 2 diabetes who had not been taking aspirin before the trial had increased platelet aggregation compared to healthy controls.
They said that indicates that platelets from patients with type 2 diabetes have an increased haemostatic potential – an increased ability to form clots, perhaps increasing the risk of CVD.
Dr Vernstroem said: “Given that platelets in people with diabetes are characterised by increased aggregation and increased turnover rates, our study indicates that patients with type 2 diabetes may achieve additional benefit from twice daily rather than once daily dosing of aspirin.”
The findings were presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) annual meeting in Lisbon, Portugal.