1. Low-Dose Aspirin
2. Diabetes
3. Cardiovascular Prevention
4. Meta-Analysis
5. Aspirin Bleeding Risk

The use of low-dose aspirin as a primary preventive measure for cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in diabetic individuals has been widely debated within the medical community. Diabetes mellitus is a significant risk factor for vascular diseases, prompting research into various strategies to mitigate the risks of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE), which include non-fatal myocardial infarction, ischemia stroke, and cardiovascular death. This article reviews a comprehensive meta-analysis of randomized control trials (RCTs) exploring the effects of low-dose aspirin on the prevention of CVD in adults with diabetes. The study, published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine on May 5, 2019, provides insight into the benefits and risks associated with aspirin therapy in this population.

The meta-analysis, which holds the DOI 10.3390/jcm8050609, evaluated the impact of long-term low-dose aspirin use on the primary prevention of CVD in diabetic adults through an extensive search of databases such as Medline, Embase, and the Cochrane Library up until November 10, 2018. A total of 29,814 participants from numerous trials were included in this analysis.

Key Findings of the Meta-Analysis

1. Low-dose aspirin use resulted in a 9% relative risk reduction in MACE. This protective effect was more pronounced in individuals aged 60 years and above, suggesting that age might play a critical role in the efficacy of aspirin as a preventive intervention.
2. The use of aspirin led to a 24% increased risk of major hemorrhage, which includes severe complications such as major intracranial hemorrhage and major gastrointestinal bleeding.
3. The reduction in MACE primarily stemmed from a lower risk of stroke rather than myocardial infarction, with no observable impact on all-cause mortality or cardiovascular death.

These outcomes suggest a complex balance between the benefits of preventing cardiovascular events and the elevated risk of bleeding in diabetic patients, emphasizing the importance of individualized risk assessment before recommending aspirin therapy.

Trusted Sources Supporting the Analysis

Several references have contributed foundational findings to the conversation surrounding low-dose aspirin and cardiovascular disease prevention, including:

1. The Emerging Risk Factors Collaboration’s meta-analysis, emphasizing the association between diabetes mellitus, fasting blood glucose concentration, and the heightened risk of vascular disease, necessitating preventative action (DOI: 10.1016/j.diabres.2009.09.029).

2. Antithrombotic Trialists’ Collaboration’s collaborative meta-analysis of randomized trials, elucidating the documented benefits of antiplatelet therapy, particularly in high-risk patients (DOI: 10.1136/bmj.324.7329.71).

3. A systematic review by Campbell et al., examining the efficacy of various aspirin dosages in the prevention of CVD, thereby informing dosage considerations (DOI: 10.1001/jama.297.18.2018).

4. Capodanno and Angiolillo’s discussion of aspirin use for primary CVD risk prevention in diabetes, providing an in-depth review of mechanisms and clinical outcomes (DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.116.023164).

5. The ADA’s position statement, co-authored with the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology Foundation, on aspirin for primary prevention of CVD in individuals with diabetes (DOI: 10.2337/dc19-S010).

These references collectively underscore the importance of critically evaluating the role of low-dose aspirin in the prevention of cardiovascular events.

Implications for Clinical Practice

The analyzed data reveal a nuanced picture in which the potential benefits of low-dose aspirin therapy must be weighed against the increased risk of significant bleeding events. It appears that low-dose aspirin may be more suitable for older diabetic individuals, as they exhibited a clearer benefit in the prevention of MACE without an increase in mortality rates.

Recommendations suggest that deliberation over initiating aspirin therapy should involve a personalized risk assessment, considering factors such as age, CVD risk profile, and bleeding risks. Clinicians are urged to engage in shared decision-making with their patients, taking into account the patient’s preferences and values as well as the current clinical evidence.

It is important to note that the meta-analysis relied on data from up to November 2018 and did not take into account any emerging studies or clinical guidelines published after that date. Therefore, ongoing research might provide additional insights that could affect future recommendations.


The meta-analysis “Low-Dose Aspirin for the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Diabetic Individuals,” indicates that while low-dose aspirin has a modest effect in reducing cardiovascular events, particularly in older adults with diabetes, it does carry a significant risk of major hemorrhage. Health care providers should proceed with caution, and the decision to prescribe low-dose aspirin for primary CVD prevention in diabetics should be highly individualized.monitoring for bleeding complications among those who embark on therapy.


1. Zhang, C., Sun, A., Zhang, P., Wu, C., Zhang, S., Fu, M., Wang, K., Zou, Y., Ge, J. (2010). Aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular events in patients with diabetes: A meta-analysis. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, 87(2), 211-218. DOI: 10.1016/j.diabres.2009.09.029

2. Antithrombotic Trialists’ Collaboration. (2002). Collaborative meta-analysis of randomised trials of antiplatelet therapy for prevention of death, myocardial infarction, and stroke in high risk patients. BMJ, 324(7329), 71–86. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.324.7329.71

3. Campbell, C. L., Smyth, S., Montalescot, G., Steinhubl, S. R. (2007). Aspirin dose for the prevention of cardiovascular disease: A systematic review. JAMA, 297(18), 2018–2024. DOI: 10.1001/jama.297.18.2018

4. Capodanno, D., Angiolillo, D. J. (2016). Aspirin for primary cardiovascular risk prevention and beyond in diabetes mellitus. Circulation, 134(15), 1579–1594. DOI: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.116.023164

5. American Diabetes Association. (2019). 10. Cardiovascular Disease and Risk Management: Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2019. Diabetes Care, 42(Supplement 1), S103–S123. DOI: 10.2337/dc19-S010

Categorized in:

Health News,

Last Update: March 11, 2024