Enteric coated aspirin not as effective as bare, white tablet

A recent study has shown that the coating of buffered aspirin may conceal the drug’s heart-protective benefits.

Researchers aimed to investigate the phenomenon known as “aspirin resistance,” a condition that has been hypothesized to affect 5 to 40 percent of the population. However, the authors did not find one case of true aspirin resistance among the 400 healthy people that were studied. Instead, they claimed that the buffered coating interfered with the drug’s efficacy.

The aspirin coating serves a protective function, helping the drug safely dissolve in the small intestine and not in the stomach. However, the coating appears to inhibit aspirin’s palliative effects, which can lead to incorrect diagnosis of aspirin resistance and unwarranted prescription of stronger, more expensive medicine.

The study was partially financed by Bayer, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of buffered aspirin, also known as enteric-coated aspirin. There were certain drawbacks to the study, including the use of only healthy volunteers, as well as blood and urine tests for evaluating aspirin resistance that occasionally gave conflicting results. Clearly, further studies must be conducted to assess the effects of aspirin’s buffered coat.*

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