Aspirin May Lower Risk for Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients

New information about hospitalized COVID-19 patients might be welcome news for people who take low aspirin doses daily. People who take aspirin as part of their routine appear to have much better outcomes in the hospital.

Every day in this pandemic, research is coming from all over the place. We have things coming out of labs, research with animals, observations from people who recovered at home, information from testing sites, hospitals and more. It’s hard to put it all into a cohesive picture. That means that, without speaking to your doctor, without listening to people who see your condition and history, you shouldn’t take anything you read off the internet “hot off the presses” as advice. This story is included in that.

Without good reason, you should not go out, buy aspirin and start taking it daily. Despite being OTC, taking a drug daily can have consequences. But, if it is something you and your doctor have been discussing, it might be worth revisiting. And, if it’s something you already do, this story might bring a bit of sunshine to your day. The research isn’t conclusive, but it is exciting!  

In a study of 412 COVID-19 patients in four hospitals, a little over 23 percent were people who took aspirin every day. Compared to the rest of the group, the people who took aspirin were 44 percent less likely to be put on a ventilator, 43 percent less likely to be put in the ICU and 47 percent less likely to die in the hospital.

COVID-19 can increase dangerous blood clots, which might be why aspirin is helping patients, but it’s not clear. Another theory comes from older lab studies that have shown that aspirin may have some anti-viral abilities. It might be fighting the virus inside the body.

This is a critical finding that needs to be confirmed through a randomized clinical trial,” said study leader Dr. Jonathan Chow, Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology at Univ. of Maryland School of Medicine. “If our finding is confirmed, it would make aspirin the first widely available, over-the-counter medication to reduce mortality in COVID-19 patients.”

While it is over-the-counter, it can take a toll on the body. It can also interact with other drugs and be harmful to people with some medical problems, so you should speak to a doctor before taking it. And, if you are already taking it, that doesn’t mean that masks, social distancing and hand washing are no longer needed.

The researchers in the study may believe this is a slam dunk, but a lot more proof is needed. While we wait for more results, people who already take aspirin as part of their healthy routine can take a breath, knowing they may have a little extra boost against COVID-19. We’re excited to hear about this early observation! Hopefully, more research will support it; it could be a big game-changer if it’s proven to be accurate!

Banner image: Alex Green via Pexels
October 28, 2020

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