We’ve all heard the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Research shows an aspirin a day may do the same.
How often have you heard about chewing an aspirin if you feel the symptoms of a heart attack? If it’s that critical to get the medication to your system, isn’t it as important to know you are taking a safe dose?
Good news — there is a simple blood test that is available to aid your doctor in assessing response to aspirin.
For many Americans, a “baby” aspirin is prescribed — 81 mg — for ongoing preventative care post-cardiac procedure or even as a precautionary way to help prevent stroke. In fact, the USPSTF (United States Preventive Services Task Force) encourages aspirin intake for men aged 45-79 years to help prevent myocardial infarctions (also known as heart attacks) and women aged 55-79 years because of a potential benefit of stroke prevention. Always check with your physician before embarking on an aspirin regimen.
Since it’s known there are potential side effects with aspirin use, particularly stomach upset due to potential bleeding risks, you will want to be sure you are getting the optimal effect with the lowest dose possible. The VerifyNow System is a product that tests for aspirin-providing the physician information on platelet reactivity. Aspirin and drugs like clopidogrel (the generic form of the branded drug Plavix) are anti-platelet medications designed to prevent the blood cells from “sticking together.” The medications can help prevent a clot, which can lead to a more serious cardiovascular event. Studies show that up to one in three patients’ platelets do not respond appropriately. Only your physician can check to see how your platelets are reacting and make decisions about your care.
As with other medications, some people often wonder if their medications are having the desired effect. Stop wondering, and start asking about a chance to see how your platelets are responding. The next time you visit your doctor, and you are asked for a blood sample to measure your level of cholesterol, or the technician measures your blood pressure, you might want to ask about the VerifyNow Aspirin Test as well. Like those other routine measurements, this test is also available nationwide in hospitals and doctor’s offices.
Your health care provider wants to provide the best protection possible to patients, so anyone on anti-platelet therapy should be tested. To find a physician who can offer the easy-to-administer VerifyNow Tests, including one for aspirin and one called the VerifyNow PRUTest to see how the P2Y12 inhibitors (also known as brand name Plavix or the generic name, clopidogrel) are affecting the platelets, log on to www.accumetrics.com/request or call (800) 643-1640.