A panel of experts charged with making recommendations on patient care say doctors should no longer routinely prescribe a daily dose of aspirin for pe
A panel of experts charged with making recommendations on patient care say doctors should no longer routinely prescribe a daily dose of aspirin for people at high risk of a heart attack.
The proposed recommendation from the U.S. Prevention Services Task Force says that evidence now suggests patients age 60 and up should not take a low-dose aspirin to prevent cardiovascular disease.
For those patients, the potential side effects, including gastrointestinal bleeding, are too high to overcome the cardiovascular benefits, the panel said.
Patients ages 40 to 59, meanwhile, should decide with their doctor whether their individual circumstances necessitate taking a daily aspirin, the proposed guidelines say.
This is the first time the panel has recommended that adults in their 40s talk to their doctors about taking aspirin for cardiovascular disease, CNN said.
“The latest evidence is clear: starting a daily aspirin regimen in people who are 60 or older to prevent a first heart attack or stroke is not recommended,” Dr. Chien-Wen Tseng, a member of the panel, said in a statement. “However, this Task Force recommendation is not for people already taking aspirin for a previous heart attack or stroke; they should continue to do so unless told otherwise by their clinician.”
Aspirin, which helps prevent blood clots, has long been recommended for patients at risk of heart disease. A clot that affects blood flow to the heart can result in a heart attacks, while a clot that impacts blood flow to the brain can cause a stroke.
But the prevention of blood clotting can have a negative side effect, NBC News explained. It can prevent the body from stopping bleeding from a wound. The new evidence reviewed by the panel suggests that the risk of bleeding from aspirin outweighs the benefits of preventing blood clots in the heart or brain.
“Aspirin only has a benefit if someone is at increased risk for heart disease,” Dr. Tseng said. “They shouldn’t be starting just because they have reached a certain age.”
The recommendations could affect as many as 29 million people, NBC said, the number of adults who routinely take aspirin to prevent heart disease despite having no history of it.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control says, killing more than 650,000 people each year.
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