People who have not experienced a heart attack or stroke should not consume aspirin each day as a preventive measure, a new study finds.
Nearly half of adults aged 70 years and older report daily aspirin use, even when they don’t have a history of cardiovascular disease. Aspirin has also been shown to reduce cancer risk. But widespread use of statins and cancer screening technology have reduced the rates of these diseases.
Now the risks of taking the easily available drug may outweigh the benefits, said Mark H. Ebell, M.D., an epidemiologist and the paper’s co-author.
Ebell’s review of past and current trials has revealed that the drug does not reduce mortality, but does increase the risk of major hemorrhage. In addition, newer trials have found no evidence that regular aspirin use has reduced cancer deaths or non-fatal heart attacks, he and colleague Frank Moriarty, Ph.D., reported.
“The good news is that the incidence of cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer are decreasing due to better control of risk factors and screening,” the authors wrote. “But that also seems to reduce the potential benefit of aspirin.”
Aspirin may be considered for adults ages 40-70 who are at high risk of cardiovascular events and not at increased risk for bleeding, according to American Heart Association guidelines.
Full findings appear in Family Practice.