(RxWiki News) Patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) appear to be able to improve their ability to walk without pain for longer periods when taking aspirin in conjunction with walking therapy.
Previous research suggested the duo may not be as effective as walking therapy combined with blood thinner clopidogrel (Plavix), but the new study found aspirin with walking rehabilitation was just as effective.
"Take daily walks to improve PAD walking tolerance."
PAD, which results from blocked leg arteries, can cause walking to be painful because of reduced blood flow to the legs. Walking can increase blood flow and reduce the pain associated with it.
Study authors Drs. Elisabeth Singer and Stephan Imfeld from the University of Basel in Switzerland, found that despite previous concerns that aspirin's anti-inflammatory properties could block development of collateral blood vessels and diminish walking program improvements, aspirin therapy with walking was as effective as taking Plavix and walking.
During the double-blind randomized study 229 PAD patients patients from 21 centers in Germany and Switzerland were selected to take Plavix or low-dose aspirin during a daily one-hour walking program. Of those, 116 took low-dose aspirin and 113 took Plavix. The average age was 66, and most participants were men.
About 12 weeks later, the patients who took low-dose aspirin could walk without pain 33.9 percent of the time. They also could walk 35.3 percent longer before it was too painful for them to continue. In comparison, Patients taking Plavix could walk 33.3 percent farther while remaining pain-free, and could continue for a 34.9 percent longer period of time. The differences between the low-dose aspirin and Plavix groups was not considered statistically significant.
No serious adverse events were reported for either group.
The study was recently published in Journal of the American Heart Association: Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Disease.