Millions of people taking aspirin to prevent a heart attack may need to rethink the pill pills, Harvard researchers said Monday.
A daily low-dose aspirin is recommended for people who have had a heart attack or stroke and are diagnosed with heart disease.
But for the otherwise healthy, this advice was lifted. The guidelines published this year precluded the routine use of aspirin for many older adults who do not yet have heart disease – and said that this only applies to certain younger people by order of the doctor.
How many people need this message?
According to a recent study by Harvard and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 29 million people over the age of 40 were taking aspirin daily, despite the absence of heart disease in 201
And nearly half of over-70s who have no heart disease – an estimated 10 million – took aspirin daily for prevention Researchers reported in Annals of Internal Medicine.
"Many patients are confused about this," Dr. Colin O & # 39; Brien, a senior internist in Beth Israel, who led the study.
After all, for years, doctors urged people to use the blood-thinning properties of aspirin to lower the likelihood of a first heart attack or stroke. Last year, three surprising new studies questioned this dogma. These studies were among the largest and longest studies in which aspirin was tested in people with a low and moderate risk of heart attack, with little benefit, especially in older adults. However, there was a significant increase in digestive tract bleeding and some other side effects among aspirin users.
In March, these results led to a change in the guidelines of the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology:
– Persons Over 70 Years Whoever has no heart disease – or is younger but has an increased risk of bleeding – should take daily aspirin to avoid prevention.
-Only certain 40- to 70-year-olds who do not yet have heart disease are at a high level. Enough risk to consume 75 to 100 milligrams of aspirin daily, and a doctor must decide that.
For heart attack survivors, nothing has changed: aspirin is still recommended to them.
But there is no way how many others to know healthy people have taken note of the amended recommendations.
"We hope that more primary care physicians will talk to their patients about aspirin use and more patients will discuss this with their doctors," said O & Brien.
FOLLOW ABC HEALTH ON TWITTER & FACEBOOK