London, March 13 : A new study has found that a small dose of aspirin on alternate days could cut a woman's risk of developing asthma.
Previous research has shown the same benefit for men, however this study is the first to demonstrate that aspirin reduces the risk of asthma in women as well.
The findings are based on a massive survey of nearly 40 000 US female healthcare professionals, 45 and older, over 10 years.
Participants were either randomly assigned to take 100 mg of aspirin every other day, or a dummy tablet (placebo). And their health was then monitored for around 10 years.
During this time, there were 10 percent fewer new cases of asthma diagnosed among the women taking aspirin.
In this group 872 new cases were diagnosed compared with 963 among those taking the placebo.
The effect was evident, irrespective of age, menopausal status, exercise levels, and smoking, all factors that might be expected to influence the findings.
And vitamin E supplementation, which was also being tested among the women, to see if it prevented cardiovascular disease and cancer, did not affect the results either.
However, aspirin did not cut the risk of asthma in women who were classified as obese.
Previous research in male doctors showed that aspirin cut the risks of asthma by 22 percent, although the dose was much higher, at 325 mg every other day.
According to the authors, among people who have already been diagnosed with asthma, aspirin can worsen symptoms in around one in 10.
The study is published in the British Medical Journal.