Often I encounter someone who says that they take a low dose aspirin daily. When I inquire why they invariably respond that they thought it was a good idea. It isn’t. Aspirin is a double edged sword and can increase the risk of bleeding. This is a DRAFT of a GUIDELINE from the United States Preventive Services Task Force, a group that weighs in periodically on medical guidelines. This is not the final word on this, but it reinforces what has been said for some time, that aspirin should be used only if recommended by your physician in certain situations.
USPSTF issues draft guidance recommending against use of low-dose aspirin to prevent first heart attack, stroke
The Washington Post (10/12, A1, Chiu) reports that “after years of recommending that middle-aged and older Americans consider taking low-dose aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke,” the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) “is planning to overhaul its guidelines, based on new studies that show that the risks may greatly reduce or cancel out the benefits.” According to draft USPSTF recommendation (PDF), “a review of the latest scientific evidence found that regularly taking low-dose aspirin – 81 milligrams to 100 milligrams – to prevent a first heart attack or stroke may have only a ‘small net benefit’ for people ages 40 to 59 who are at risk for cardiovascular disease.”
USA Today (10/12, Rodriguez) reports that “people over the age of 60 should no longer consider taking a daily low-dose or baby aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke, according to” the task force’s draft recommendation. This “announcement marks a change in the 2016 Task Force guidance that recommended aspirin therapy in certain men and women to lower cardiovascular risk.” However, “more recent evidence suggests it also could cause harm, including bleeding in the stomach, intestines, and brain.”
The New York Times (10/12, A1, Rabin) reports USPSTF “also plans to retreat from its 2016 recommendation to take baby aspirin for the prevention of colorectal cancer.”
According to The Hill (10/12, Breslin), “This draft recommendation does not apply to people who have already suffered a heart attack or stroke. The task force still recommends that those people take aspirin preventatively.”