Millions should stop taking aspirin every day to prevent heart attacks, study says
Adrianna Rodriguez, July 23, 2019
USA TODAY – Harvard researchers are advising millions of people who take aspirin every day to prevent heart attacks to now stop their daily use.
Some 29 million people 40 and older were taking an aspirin a day in 2017 despite not having heart disease, the study published Monday found.
Self-medicating … generally a bad idea
The study also found that about 6.6 million of them were using aspirin on their own even though a doctor never recommended it to them.
And nearly 10 million people over 70 who don’t have heart disease were taking daily aspirin for prevention, the researchers reported in Annals of Internal Medicine.
The lastest studies run counter to what doctors for decades had recommended: a daily 75 to 100 milligrams aspirin to prevent strokes or heart attacks.
“Many patients are confused about this,” said Dr. Colin O’Brien, a senior intern medicine resident at Beth Israel who led the most recent study from Harvard and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
The recent studies prompted the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology to change their guidelines in March:
- People over 70 who don’t have heart disease — or are younger but at increased risk of bleeding — should avoid daily aspirin for prevention.
- Only certain 40- to 70-year-olds who don’t already have heart disease are at high enough risk to warrant 75 to 100 milligrams of aspirin daily, and that’s for a doctor to decide. Read more.