Tags: daily | aspirin | heart | study

Preventive Aspirin May Do More Harm Than Good

Sunday, 22 Dec 2013 10:49 PM

By Greg Richter

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Taking an aspirin a day to prevent heart disease may be more harmful than helpful to healthy adults, according to a new review of previous studies.

British researchers took a fresh look at several recent controlled studies and found a number of cases where taking no aspirin was a lesser risk.

Still, no one should stop an aspirin regimen without first consulting a doctor, Paul Sutcliffe of Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick in England told Reuters.

Many people considered to be at risk of heart disease take aspirin daily because its blood-thinning properties can help stop blood clots. But the review showed daily aspirin use leads to a 37 percent increased risk of internal bleeding and a 38 percent increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke. A January study suggested daily aspirin use increased the risk of age-related blindness.

The review said aspirin helped prevent 33 to 46 deaths from any cause in 10,000 people during a 10-year period. But 46 to 49 major bleeds and 68 to 117 gastrointestinal bleeds in 10,000 people in a 10-year period occurred as well.

"This shows that if you are healthy, with no symptoms of cardiovascular disease, then it is not sensible to take regular aspirin. It won’t improve your health," Dr Peter Sandercock of the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences at the University of Edinburgh told The Telegraph.

Doctors have warned for years that aspirin, even in low doses, can have side effects just like other drugs. Ulcers are the most common side effect.

The review was published in the open-access journal Plos One.

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