This issue of JAMA includes 2 articles from
the Women’s Health Study (WHS).1,2 This
10-year long, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of low-dose aspirin and
vitamin E included nearly 40 000 predominantly middle-aged women with
no history of cancer or cardiovascular disease.3 The
WHS used a 2 × 2 factorial design to evaluate the effects
of low-dose aspirin (100 mg) taken every other day and 600 IU of vitamin E
(in the form of natural-source α-tocopherol), also taken every other
day. Neither alternate-day, low-dose aspirin nor vitamin E showed any evidence
of efficacy in reducing overall cancer incidence or mortality.1,2 With
respect to noncancer outcomes, notable findings for low-dose aspirin included
a reduction in stroke risk, no apparent effect on myocardial infarction, and
an increased risk of gastrointestinal bleeding requiring transfusion.4 Vitamin E had no apparent effect on either cardiovascular
disease incidence or on gastrointestinal bleeding.2
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