More Risks Than Benefits for Healthy People on Low-Dose Aspirin

More Risks Than Benefits for Healthy People on Low-Dose Aspirin

If you are a relatively healthy person, taking a low-dose aspirin doesn’t help to reduce your risk of a heart attack or death – but it can increase your risk for major bleeding, according to a new meta-analysis.

Researchers examined 11 clinical trials comparing low-dose aspirin to placebo in more than 157,000 adults without atherosclerosis, a condition in which fatty deposits accumulate in the arteries, causing the blood vessels to thicken.

Results, published in the European Heart Journal, showed that compared to those taking a placebo, the rates of heart attack, stroke and death weren’t any lower. Also, those on aspirin were nearly 50% more likely to have major bleeding compared to those on placebo.

“Many professionals have a hard time believing that aspirin may not be so beneficial because there has been such a widespread and favorable view of this medication,” co-author Anthony A. Bavry, MD, cardiologist and professor at the University of Florida School of Medicine, said in a statement. “This certainly does not settle the debate, but it does call for a reappraisal of society’s overwhelmingly positive view of aspirin therapy.”

About 40% of US adults 50 and older take a low-dose aspirin for cardiovascular disease prevention, according to a 2016 study.

A study published in August found that for those at moderate risk of developing cardiovascular disease, taking a low-dose aspirin did not help to prevent a first heart attack or stroke compared to those on a placebo.


Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block

Jonathan Block is a freelance writer and former MedShadow content editor. He has been an editor and writer for multiple pharmaceutical, health and medical publications, including BioCentury, The Pink Sheet, Modern Healthcare, Health Plan Week and Psychiatry Advisor. He holds a BA from Tufts University and is earning an MPH with a focus on health policy from the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy.


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