Aspirin and paracetamol consumption have been compared in 346 matched pairs of patients with haematemesis and melaena, and control individuals in the general community. Both aspirin and paracetamol intake were more common in patients than in controls, but the association for aspirin was stronger and was apparent with both recent and habitual intake, whereas for paracetamol the association was not detectable for habitual intake. The results for paracetamol suggests that patients with bleeding take analgesic drugs in part because of symptoms associated with bleeding, and such intake is not necessarily causal of bleeding. Failure to control investigations to take account of this point has exaggerated the possible risks of aspirin consumption.
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