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(BPT) - Each year approximately 200,000 people have a recurrent heart attack and 161,000 have recurrent strokes caused by blood clots, according to statistics from the American Heart Association.
If you’ve lived through a heart attack or stroke, you’re probably motivated to do everything you can to prevent another one. For many people, doctors prescribe aspirin as part of daily prevention efforts. If your doctor prescribes aspirin as a secondary prevention measure, here are five things you should know.
1. Know how to reduce risk
If you’ve already had one heart attack or stroke, you could have another. However, you can do a lot to reduce your risks of having a recurrent heart attack or stroke, including exercising regularly, controlling your weight, limiting alcohol consumption, not smoking and taking medication if your doctor prescribes it. Do not take aspirin for secondary prevention unless your doctor recommends it. Other medications might be more appropriate for you.
2. An aspirin a day …
… really can help keep a second heart attack or stroke away. Aspirin works to thin the blood, which can help prevent the clotting that leads to heart attacks and strokes. The American Heart Association recommends heart attack and stroke survivors, who are at increased risk of having a recurrent heart attack, should take aspirin daily under the guidance of their doctor.
3. But there’s a catch
While it can be good for the heart, aspirin isn’t always easy on the stomach. Some people do not tolerate aspirin therapy, developing inflammation of the stomach’s lining, known as gastritis, indigestion, known as dyspepsia, ulcers and stomach bleeding. When they experience these symptoms, some people may discontinue their aspirin therapy, but then lose the heart-protective benefits of the treatment.
4. Stopping aspirin cold turkey can be life-threatening
You should always discuss any decision to discontinue a prescribed treatment with your doctor, because sometimes the risks of quitting abruptly can be life-threatening. Published research has shown that in patients who have or are at risk of coronary artery disease, discontinuing daily aspirin treatment can elevate risk of having another event like a heart attack or stroke, or even death, by three-fold shortly after stopping therapy.
5. A new FDA-approved option exists
The Food and Drug Administration recently approved a new treatment option for patients whose doctors recommend that they take daily aspirin therapy to prevent a recurrent heart attack or stroke and who are at risk for developing aspirin-associated stomach ulcers. The medication combines a delayed-release aspirin core surrounded by immediately released omeprazole, a medicine commonly prescribed to treat heartburn, stomach ulcers and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). For important safety information regarding YOSPRALA, please see below. Visit www.YOSPRALA.com to learn more.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION ABOUT YOSPRALA
You should take Yosprala (aspirin and omeprazole) exactly as prescribed, at the lowest dose possible and for the shortest time needed. Do not stop taking Yosprala without talking with your doctor. Stopping Yosprala suddenly could increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
Do not take Yosprala if you are allergic to aspirin, omeprazole, or any of the ingredients in Yosprala. Do not take Yosprala if you have a medical condition with severe shortness of breath, chest tightness or pain, coughing or wheezing (asthma), sneezing, runny nose or itchy nose (rhinitis), and growths inside of your nose or sinuses (nasal polyps). Do not take Yosprala if you are allergic to any non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
Do not take Yosprala if you are taking a medicine that contains rilpivirine such as EDURANT®, COMPLERA®, or ODEFSEY®.
Yosprala should not be used in children.
Tell your doctor if you have unexpected bleeding, if you bleed more than usual, or if your bleeding lasts longer than is normal for you, such as increased bruising or more frequent nose bleeds after taking Yosprala.
Tell your doctor if you have stomach problems while taking or after you stop taking Yosprala. Stop taking Yosprala and call your doctor right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms: black, bloody, or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds, or severe nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain.
Avoid heavy alcohol use (3 or more drinks daily) during treatment with Yosprala.
Yosprala contains aspirin and omeprazole. Before taking Yosprala, tell your doctor if you take:
aspirin, or any prescription or over-the-counter medicines containing aspirin or other NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)clopidogrel bisulphate (PLAVIX®). You should not take clopidogrel bisulphate (PLAVIX®) if you take Yosprala.ticagrelor (BRILINTA®). If your doctor prescribes Yosprala for you, you should not take Yosprala that contains the 325/40 mg strength dose.
Kidney problems may happen at any time during treatment with Yosprala. Call your doctor if you have a decrease in the amount that you urinate, have blood in your urine, changes in urination, swelling, skin rash or itching, or your breath smells like ammonia.
Yosprala can cause diarrhea caused by an infection (Clostridium difficile) in your intestines. Call your doctor if you have watery stools or stomach pain that does not go away. You may or may not have a fever.
Bone fractures (hip, wrist, or spine) in people who take multiple daily doses of proton pump inhibitor (PPI)-containing medicines like Yosprala for a long period of time (a year or longer) may occur.
Certain types of lupus erythematosus may happen or get worse in people who already have lupus and who take PPI medicines, including Yosprala. Call your doctor right away if you have joint pain or a rash on your cheeks or arms that gets worse in the sun.
Liver problems may happen during treatment with Yosprala. Tell your doctor if you have signs or symptoms of liver problems, including: yellowing of your skin or your eyes, stomach-area (abdominal) pain and swelling, itchy skin, and dark (tea-colored) urine.
Low vitamin B12 levels in your body can happen in people who have taken a PPI medicine, such as omeprazole, for a long time (more than 3 years). Tell your doctor if you have symptoms of low vitamin B12 levels, including: shortness of breath, lightheadedness, irregular heartbeat, muscle weakness, pale skin, feeling tired, mood changes, and tingling or numbness.
Low magnesium levels in your body can happen in people who have taken Yosprala for at least 3 months. Tell your doctor if you have symptoms of low magnesium levels, including: seizures, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, jitteriness, muscle aches or weakness, and spasms of hands, feet or voice.
If you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or nursing, talk to your doctor before taking Yosprala. Breastfeeding is not recommended during treatment with Yosprala.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription drugs, anti-cancer drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Yosprala may affect how other medicines work, and other medicines may affect how Yosprala works. This can cause serious side effects.
Especially tell your doctor if you are taking:
a medicine that contains rilpivirine (EDURANT®, COMPLERA®, ODEFSEY®)clopidogrel bisulphate (PLAVIX®)ticagrelor (BRILINTA®)John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)rifampin (RIMACTANE®, RIFATER®, RIFAMATE®, RIFADIN®)methotrexate (OTREXUP®, RASUVO®, TREXALL®)
Yosprala is not interchangeable with the individual components of aspirin and omeprazole.
The most common side effects of Yosprala include: indigestion or heartburn and stomach-area pain, nausea, diarrhea, growths (polyps) in your stomach, and chest pain behind the breastbone, for example, with eating.
The risk information provided here is not comprehensive. To learn more, talk about Yosprala with your pharmacist or other health care providers. The product information can be found at www.Yosprala.com or 1-866-207-6592.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Reference: 1. Yosprala Prescribing Information. Princeton, NJ: Aralez Pharmaceuticals US Inc; 2016.