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    Chewable Aspirin Is The Best For Heart Patients

    By Margarita Nahapetyan

    Researchers from the University of California in San Diego (UCSD) came to the conclusion that aspirin in a chewable form appears to work the best for individuals who suffer a cardiac incident.

    It has been known for many years that aspirin, medically known as acetylsalicylic acid, slows down the clotting mechanism of blood, and benefits patients with heart attacks and strokes. The tablets are available either as regular aspirin, which is swallowed whole, or as chewable aspirin, which can be chewed, but also swallowed whole. However, it has never been clear which specifically, out of the different types of the drug, are likely to work the best.

    For a study purposes, scientists from the UCSD involved 14 adults - 13 men and 1 woman - with the ages between 20 and 61 years, and asked each of them to ingest one of the three different forms of aspirin. The first group was taking regular solid aspirin pills and swallowed them whole. The participants in the second group, also taking the standard solid aspirin tablet, were prescribed to chew the pill before swallowing it up. And finally, the participants in the third group took chewable aspirin tablets that were swallowed at the same time as the patients chewed. The participants were given 1,950 milligrams of the drug, which is equal to 6 regular aspirin pills.

    The study investigators measured the aspirin levels in the blood for each individual in all the three groups shortly after the drug ingestion. It was revealed that aspirin worked the best when being taken in chewable form. The third group of participants, which consumed the tablet in a chewable form, showed the highest levels of the drug in their blood, when compared to the participants in other groups. Data analysis concluded that chewable aspirin is absorbed into the body much faster than traditional aspirin pills that are either swallowed whole or chewed before swallowing. That allows the aspirin to reach the blood stream and start working faster.

    This "seemingly quite simple finding" could lead to improvements in the care of heart attack patients, said a lead investigator of the study, Dr. Sean Nordt, MD, of the UCSD. The scientist also added that while a regular aspirin tablet works within 15 minutes, the chewable tablet of same strength appears to be more effective in setting off a heart attack or sudden onset of angina (chest pain) in those patients who are at the most risk. However, Dr. Sean said that when chewable tablets are not available, heart attack patients should still be taking the regular tablets for their dose.

    The findings were presented at the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine (SAEM) annual meeting on May 15, 2009. Study abstracts are also published in the supplement to the April issue of Academic Emergency Medicine.

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