Tag Archives: high blood pressure

A Drug I Am Taking is Being Recalled. Should I Freak Out?

Most pharmacists, including myself, have been directly involved in the process of managing and following up on FDA prescription drug recalls. Fortunately, many of the drug recalls are not to the patient level because of a medication causing harm. Most medication recalls I’ve dealt with were not likely to cause adverse health consequences if a patient continued to take the meds. My role as a pharmacist was usually to deal with following through on returning of recalled products and contacting patients to give them information, instructions and reassurance when needed.

Both prescription and over-the-counter medications are evaluated by the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) before a medication can be sold. They do not actually test the products at the center, but they conduct research on each product for drug quality, safety and effectiveness. The drug manufacturer is responsible for researching and testing the new product for safety and effectiveness, and providing that information to the FDA for evaluation.

When a pharmaceutical company develops a new prescription medication and wants to bring it to market, they submit a new drug application (NDA) to the FDA. Over-the-counter medications can be brought to market through a similar NDA process or by submitting a drug monograph. A drug monograph is like a “recipe” of acceptable ingredients, doses, formulations and labeling requirements for that particular product to be marketed. Products conforming to the FDA monograph can then be evaluated for approval and marketing.

Most Recalls Are Voluntary

Occasionally, unforeseen problems arise after an FDA-regulated product is marketed and in use. If a product is defective or potentially harmful, the product could be recalled. Recalling the product is the most effective way to protect the public. Most product recalls are voluntary and initiated by the manufacturer when they discover problems. The role of the FDA then is to monitor the recall process and assess its effectiveness.

The FDA evaluates each recall and classifies them into three categories:

Class I: A dangerous or defective product that could cause serious health problems or death.
Class II: A product that might cause a temporary health problem, or pose slight threat of a serious nature.
Class III: A product that is unlikely to cause any adverse health reaction, but that violates FDA labeling or manufacturing laws.

The public is not always notified about FDA recalls, and they’re not always in the news. Some product recalls can be as simple as an issue with the product labeling or packaging, or some other discrepancy that does not cause a health problem. Usually your pharmacist or doctor will notify you if there is a need for you to discontinue a recalled medication or return a recalled prescription product.

When the FDA issues a recall it is very specific as to which products are included. The manufacturer must provide comprehensive information including, but not limited to, product name, use and description. Just because a product is recalled by one manufacturer — hydrochlorothiazide, for example — doesn’t mean that all hydrochlorothiazide by other manufacturers is necessarily recalled. This can lead to some confusion for consumers.

Hypertension Drug Recalls

There have been a number of recalls of prescription drugs used to control high blood pressure in the news since last year. These recalls have been hyped up and sensationalized by the news media lately. News stories about drug products being contaminated with ingredients used to “make liquid rocket fuel” or pesticides are alarming when read by the public. They also do very little to educate consumers about how to deal with a prescription medication recall.

You can search product recalls on an FDA website or at Recalls.gov if you have questions about a drug recall. However your best source of information would be your pharmacist or the healthcare provider who prescribed the medication for you. They can provide clear, concise information (without the hype) and give you clear instructions about what to do.

Cold Medicines Can Impact Those With High Blood Pressure, Heart Issues

With cold and flu season in full swing, people with high blood pressure that is not controlled well or who have heart disease need to be careful with over-the-counter cold medicines, as they may cause a spike in blood pressure.

Many cold medicines contain decongestants and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), both of which can raise blood pressure. Examples of decongestants are pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine. Some NSAIDs are Advil (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen).

“People with uncontrolled high blood pressure or heart disease should avoid taking oral decongestants,” Sondra DePalma, a physician assistant at UPMC Pinnacle in Pennsylvania, told American Heart Association News. “And for the general population or someone with low cardiovascular risk, they should use them with the guidance of a healthcare provider.”

Guidelines released last year by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology dealing with high blood pressure management say that decongestants should be used for as short a time as possible, and to try alternatives such as nasal saline or antihistamines.

Regarding NSAIDs, guidelines say to use Tylenol (acetaminophen) or topical NSAIDs as other options.

Healthcare professionals also say if your cold symptoms are mild or moderate, rest and drink plenty of fluids. Avoiding dehydration can help reduce body aches and may reduce the need for decongestants.

Can Exercise Work as Well as Medication at Lowering Blood Pressure?

If you have hypertension, getting regular exercise can be just as effective at lowering your blood pressure as taking medication, according to a new meta-analysis.

Researchers analyzed data from 194 trials that looked at how drugs lowered high blood pressure, as well as 197 trials that looked at exercise in reducing hypertension. These trials included more than 40,000 people, though none of them compared medication against exercise (such as walking, jogging, cycling, swimming and strength/weight training) head to head. They also included people both with and without hypertension.

Overall, those treated with medication had lower blood pressure than those who exercised, according to results published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. However, when analyses looked only at those with hypertension, exercise appeared to be just as effective as drugs in lowering blood pressure. And in those with very high blood pressure (over 140 mm Hg), exercise was more effective than medication.

Researchers cautioned, however, that their study doesn’t mean that people should stop taking high blood pressure medications. About 40% of Americans are not active physically, so getting people with hypertension to start exercising can be an uphill battle.

“It’s one thing to recommend that physicians start prescribing exercise to their patients, but we also need to be cognizant of the resource implications and ensure that the patients that have been referred to exercise interventions can adhere to them and so really derive benefit,” lead author Huseyin Naci, PhD, an assistant professor of health policy at the London School of Economics, said in a statement.

So, Your Doctor Wants You to Take a Statin. What Are the Risks?

Seems my doctor wants me to take one too. I had my annual check-up with my physician a few weeks ago and was disappointed when I received my lab results. Even after losing 25 pounds over the past 12 months, my overall cholesterol and LDL (low density lipoproteins), also known as “bad cholesterol” because high levels of it boost your risk for a heart attack, have both gone up.

I’m an active person who exercises regularly, my blood sugar level is low and I think I eat a fairly good diet. Generally speaking I consider myself to be healthier than I’ve been for a long time.

My cholesterol level has been a little high for many years, probably due to genetics. Both my father and mother and their parents had high cholesterol. This familial hypercholesterolemia has never seemed to be a problem over the years for me but now my doctor wants me to start taking a statin to lower it. I have some concerns about potential side effects from taking this cholesterol-lowering medication. But more on this later.

I’ve avoided taking a statin for several years. I’ve tried the diet/exercise route. In 2007, I started cycling again and have logged nearly 15,000 miles either riding outside or peddling my bike on a trainer in the garage. In December 2017, I had a check up and decided I needed to lose weight to reduce my blood pressure and cholesterol. I started a keto diet and lost 25 pounds since then. But the high protein, high-fat diet seemed to kick up my cholesterol rather than lowering them. Now I feel it’s time to start a statin, rethink my diet and see what happens.

How Often Should You Get Your Cholesterol Checked?

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that all adults should have their cholesterol level checked every 4-6 years starting at age 20. As we age our cholesterol levels tend to rise. If your cholesterol level is high it should be checked more frequently — at least annually. And if you have a family history of high cholesterol, it should be monitored several times a year.

Your doctor will conduct a risk assessment to determine if you need to take a cholesterol medication. If you have high cholesterol but are considered “heart healthy” and have no additional risk factors, you might not need to take medication. If you have additional risk factors like diabetes, high blood pressure, a smoker or family history of heart disease or high cholesterol, they will usually recommend you take medication to control your cholesterol. If you’ve already suffered a heart attack or stroke, chances are you will be prescribed medication to prevent a future one if you’re not already taking one.

Statins are generally considered the first-line treatment for high cholesterol. There are a number of these medications available including Lipitor (atorvastatin), Crestor (rosuvastatin), Zocor (simvastatin) and Pravachol (pravastatin). Your doctor’s personal prescribing habits will determine which statin you are prescribed, though they are all available as generics, so they are cheap.

What Are The Minor and Serious Side Effects?

Generally speaking statins are safe and well tolerated by your body with minimal or temporary side effects such as headache, nausea, drowsiness, flushing of the skin or difficulty sleeping at times. Some of the more serious side effects that have been reported are muscle aches and pain. Mild muscle soreness, tiredness or weakness might be a minor discomfort in most cases but can be severe enough to make daily activities difficult in a few individuals. Very rare serious side effects may include muscle damage (rhabdomyolysis), liver or kidney failure but the risks are very low with incidence being calculated as only a few cases per million statin users.

The AHA issued a statement this week that based on an analysis of decades of clinical studies involving different statins, side effects are very rare and the benefits of them greatly outweigh the risks. The AHA’s action was likely a response to a study that came out last week that argued that statins are overprescribed and for some people who take them, the risks outweigh the benefits.

Treatment needs to be individualized for you based on your risk factors. You (and I include myself) need to understand the risks of not taking a statin vs. your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Make sure you have this conversation with your doctor. And, as always, ask questions if you don’t understand.

Are Statins Overprescribed? For Many, Their Risks May Outweigh Their Benefits

A new study is arguing that statins may be overprescribed since in many people, the risks of the cholesterol-lowering drugs outweigh their benefits.

Current US guidelines recommend that statins be prescribed to those who have a 10% risk of having a heart attack within the next 10 years and who have one or more risks for cardiovascular disease (CVD), such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. With those guidelines, as many of 40% of older Americans should take a statin to curtail their risk of developing heart disease or having a cardiovascular event.

Statins, however, are considered a must for those that have experienced a heart attack or stroke, as clinical evidence is strong that they can prevent another one from occurring.

Researchers looked at data from more than 40 studies on four commonly prescribed statins: Lipitor (atorvastatin), Zocor (simvastatin) Pravachol (pravastatin) and Crestor (rosuvastatin). They used a computer model to analyze the benefits and risks of statins. Possible side effects included muscle weakness, kidney or liver dysfunction, diabetes, cataracts and headaches.

Results, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, found that the harms of the drug outweigh the benefits until a patient’s risk is much higher than the 10% threshold cited in the US guidelines.

For example, a net benefit was not seen in men between 70 and 75 unless their 10-year CVD risk was at least 21%. Among men 40 to 44, the benefit was not greater than risk unless their risk was at least 14%.

Milo Puhan, MD, PhD, a senior author of the study with the University of Zurich, told NPR that as people age, the benefits of statins diminish compared to harm. He added that only 15% to 20% of older adults should be taking statins, much less than the 40% under the current guidelines.

Quick Hits: Statins and Seniors, ‘Magic Mushrooms’ As Depression Treatment & More

Almost half of patients 65 and over that are prescribed statins stop taking them within a year — and side effects may be to blame. Researchers looked at 22,340 seniors who started statin therapy and found that 45% stopped taking the medication within a year of receiving the prescription. Results also showed that patients 85 and older were even more likely to stop taking the pills. Some people on statins do experience muscle aches and pains and some studies have indicated that statins are associated with a higher risk of developing diabetes. The researchers noted that having diabetes and anxiety was associated with a higher rate of discontinuation. Posted November 6, 2018. Via British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

The FDA has granted “Breakthrough Therapy” status to a drug company’s treatment-resistant depression medication that contains psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms. The designation means that the agency will fast-track review of the drug. However, it may be some time before the FDA approves the drug as the company, COMPASS Pathways, has just started to conduct a large-scale clinical trial. In a news release, the company said a 2015 study in which psilocybin was given to 19 patients in a clinical setting “found promising signals on efficacy and safety.” Treatment-resistant depression affects 100 million people worldwide. Posted October 23, 2018. Via COMPASS Pathways.

Some lots of the hypertension drug irbesartan are being recalled because they may contain an impurity that can cause cancer. The irbesartan affected was manufactured by ScieGen Pharmaceuticals and may contain N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDMA), a probable human carcinogen. You can check to see if the irbesartan you are taking is impacted by the recall here. If your medication is on the recall list, do not stop taking it. Instead, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about an alternative treatment. Irbesartan is the second high blood pressure medication recalled because of NDMA this year. Over the summer, the FDA recalled certain lots of valsartan. Posted October 30, 2018. Via FDA.

No Cardiovascular Benefit Using Meds in Mild Hypertension

Patients with mild hypertension receive no benefit in terms of lowering the risk of death or cardiovascular disease from taking high blood pressure medication, though they have a higher risk of adverse events.

That’s the conclusion of a new study of more than 38,000 patients with low-risk, mild hypertension (blood pressure of 140-159/90-99 mm Hg untreated by medication). And it’s significant considering that last year, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology issued a joint recommendation that blood pressure drugs be started in patients with a reading of 130/80 mm Hg or higher. Before, the recommendation threshold was 140/90.

Researchers conducted an observational study, looking at the 38,000 patients over 15 years. At the outset, none of them were receiving hypertension medications. They then compared those who were eventually treated with drugs to those who never received any treatment. Those who took a high blood pressure medication did not have a lower risk of heart attack or stroke compared to those who didn’t receive any treatment, the researchers reported in JAMA Internal Medicine.

However, those in the treatment group had an increased risk of hypotension (very low blood pressure), fainting and kidney damage.

The findings indicate that “doctors should be cautious when considering hypertension treatment in this group and we would therefore encourage a conversation between a patient and their doctor to decide the best way to treat the condition,” lead author James Sheppard, PhD, University of Oxford, said in a statement.

“Younger patients in particular may prefer to adopt lifestyle changes to reduce their blood pressure, rather than committing to taking antihypertensive drugs for many years.”

3 Things Every Consumer Should Know About Blood Pressure Drug Recall

By Caitlin Hoff
ConsumerSafety.org

For most consumers, a significant drug recall that impacts them is a rare occurrence. Many times, drugs are recalled as a precautionary measure for minor issues. Some recalls are addressed at the pharmacy level. In this second instance, consumers never interact with the recalled medications. For thousands of Americans, however, this summer brought about a series of important and potentially dangerous recalls from the FDA, exposing a lack of consumer knowledge surrounding consumer drug recalls.

On July 13, the FDA joined 22 other countries recalling certain generic medications containing valsartan, a popular blood pressure lowering drug also known as Diovan. These products were recalled because the valsartan was found to be contaminated by a cancer-causing impurity. With further investigation, the recall was expanded as more contaminated medications were found. To see the FDA’s complete updated list of medications in this recall, click here.

Last month, the FDA discovered an additional impurity -– also a carcinogen — within several of the medications already recalled. Investigations are still being conducted into the contamination and the potential health impacts that these impurities could have on the lives of patients.

To ease concerns and answer a few common questions, here is what you, as a consumer, should know and take away from the recent valsartan recalls.

1. Not all medications containing valsartan were recalled. Valsartan is used in a number of medications to treat hypertension and heart failure. The reason for the recall comes from a contamination of valsartan supplied by certain manufacturers. Plenty of drugs containing valsartan were not recalled because they use a different supplier. If you are taking a medication that contains valsartan, be sure to check whether or not your medication was impacted by this recent recall.

2. The impurities found are classified as probable human carcinogens. The first impurity which prompted the initial recall is known as N-nitrosodimethylamine or NDMA. What we know of NDMA comes from studies done using animals. As the EPA reported last year, these studies found that increased exposure to the substance contributed to damage and tumor growth in the liver, as well as in the respiratory tract, kidney and blood vessels of the animals.

The second impurity found in September is called N-nitrosodiethylamine (NDEA). It has also been shown to cause liver damage along with other negative health effects. It’s important to note that both NDEA and NDMA are classified as probable carcinogens for humans based on studies using animal test subjects. The full impact of these impurities, however, is yet to be understood for the patients taking the contaminated valsartan drugs.

3. Consumers should not stop taking their recalled medication. Valsartan is used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure, two very serious health conditions. To ensure that greater harm does not come to patients affected by the recall, the FDA and healthcare professionals alike do not recommend stopping the medication until an alternative can be obtained. Those affected by the recall should consult their doctor about a replacement medication. Some people may be switched to another valsartan medication unaffected by the recall, while others may be placed on an alternative medication that does not contain valsartan. The decision will depend on your personal medical history as well as your doctor’s determination.

Medication recalls can cause anxiety and confusion, and can bring questions from consumers. It’s important that we handle these situations calmly and responsibly. If you are impacted by a consumer drug recall, be sure to thoroughly read the recall information provided by the FDA and the drug manufacturer. Both groups typically provide reasons for the recall as well as safety instructions for affected patients. In addition, you should always consult your doctor before stopping a medication or to voice concerns about a prescribed medication.

Finally, it’s important to recognize that the safety of medications in our country does not solely fall upon the authority of the FDA or drug manufacturers. Consumers also have a voice in the matter and can provide critical feedback around the safety of drugs on the market. If you ever experience adverse side effects after taking a medication or notice a defect in your medication such as a packaging issue or irregularities in the pills themselves, you should report this to both your doctor and the FDA.

An important side note: Your doctor is not required to report any side effects that you experience on a medication to the FDA. It is your responsibility to ensure that it gets reported. Visit the FDA’s MedWatch reporting page to learn more and report any consumer drug complaints.

Caitlin Hoff is a health and safety investigator with ConsumerSafety.org. Through her writing, she hopes to guide families and consumers towards smarter decisions that will improve their overall health.

Many Seniors at Risk For Supplement-Drug Interactions

Millions of seniors that take herbal supplements in addition to prescription drugs may be at risk for potentially serious supplement-drug interactions.

Researchers in the UK polled older adults 65 and older, finding that about one-third of them take at least one supplement in addition to their regular medications. Based on an evaluation of those supplements and drugs, researchers say that one-third of that group are at risk for potentially serious adverse events, they reported in the British Journal of General Practice.

Some of the adverse events are a risk of bleeding, an increase in blood sugar concentration and reducing the effectiveness of the medication an individual is taking.

Researchers identified three supplement-drug combinations they say pose a “significant” hazard: calcium and the underactive thyroid drug levothyroxine; peppermint and Prevacid (lansoprazole), which is used for acid reflux; and St. John’s wort and amlodipine, a blood pressure-lowering medication. In the first combination, the efficacy of levothyroxine can be reduced by calcium. Antacids like Prevacid can eat away at protective coatings on peppermint oil pills, potentially leading to nausea and heartburn. And St. John’s wort can reduce the levels of amlodipine in the blood.

Other potentially serious combinations include fish oil pills and bisoprolol, a beta blocker, as well as glucosamine, a supplement used for arthritis relief, and the diabetes drug metformin. The first combination can lead to a potentially unsafe lowering of blood pressure, while the second can increase blood sugar.

The study authors conclude that doctors should ask senior patients about supplement use to potentially avoid interactions with medications.

Quick Hits: FDA Threatens E-Cig Manufacturers, Elderly Polypharmacy and Falls & More

Saying youth smoking of e-cigarettes is reaching “epidemic proportions,” the FDA has ordered the manufacturers of the 5 top e-cigarettes to come up with plans on how to curb use by teens. The agency also threatened to pull flavored e-cigarettes – which are especially appealing to young people – from the market if they can’t demonstrate how they can keep the devices away from children. The manufacturers receiving letters are Juul Labs Inc., Vuse, MarkTen XL, Blu and Logic. Data from Nielsen Research indicates that Juul has more than two-thirds of the e-cigarette market. About 2.1 million middle and high school students used e-cigarettes last year, according to the CDC. Over the summer, the FDA said it issued more than 1,300 warning letters and fines to retailers who illegally sold e-cig products to minors as part of an undercover operation, the largest coordinated enforcement effort in the agency’s history. Posted September 12, 2018. Via FDA.

Elderly people that take several medications for sleeping, pain or incontinence are twice as likely to fall and suffer broken bones compared to those not taking any drugs. Researchers analyzed data on more than 70,000 older adults living in New Zealand. Those who were taking more than 3 Drug Burden Index medications – drugs that sedate or affect one’s cognition – were twice as likely to break their hip than those on no drugs, researchers reported in the Journals of Gerontology. Between 20% and 30% of those who broke their hip died within a year. Lead author Hamish Jamieson, PhD, of the University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand, said that multiple medications can cause falls in the elderly because of side effects in each of the medications and drug-drug interactions than can create additional side effects. Posted September 11, 2018. Via University of Otago.

The FDA has issued warning letters to 2 companies for making unsubstantiated medical claims in selling products containing the herb kratom. The agency says that Chillin Mix Kratom and Mitra Distributing make claims that their kratom products can relieve opioid withdrawal and treat conditions including depression, anxiety and high blood pressure. The FDA noted that kratom may contain substances that contain opioids and the plant may have a high potential for abuse. Over the last year, the FDA has issued several public warnings about potential dangers associated with kratom. In February, the agency said it identified 44 deaths associated with the use of kratom. Posted September 11, 2018. Via FDA.

Is that New Drug Better? Safer? There’s Really No Way to Know

In order for a drug to be approved by the FDA, a pharmaceutical company must demonstrate that the drug is safe and effective. But the company does not need to show that the drug is any more effective  — or even as effective — than other drugs on the market for the same condition. Not requiring what is known as “comparative effectiveness” studies as part of the drug approval process is a mistake as doctors and the public are left to guess how effective or safer newer drugs are compared with ones that are already available, and likely much cheaper.

For the most part, when a new drug goes through the FDA approval process, it only has to demonstrate it is more effective than a placebo and it won’t kill you. Side effects are often a footnote. While this is important, more practical information is needed. Doctors and patients have the right to know what the best drug is for which condition. For example, say a new cholesterol-lowering drug has been approved. In weighing whether to prescribe that drug to a patient, a doctor would want to know how that drug fared both in terms of efficacy and side effects compared to existing cholesterol-lowering drugs on the market.

Why not just always go with the newer drug? newer is better, right? No, not in the medical world. Older drugs which have been used for a longer time have a much more complete safety profile which means doctors and the FDA have a better idea of what the actual side effects are and how many adverse effects are happening with that drug. All that is not tested yet on the new drug. The patient taking the new drug is the guinea pig.

Comparative effectiveness studies are just as important to consumers. If, say, that new drug was only marginally better – if at all – than existing cholesterol-lowering meds, they would likely choose to stick with a generically available, lower-cost med rather than the newer – and more expensive – drug.

The importance of comparative effectiveness studies for drugs was made well in a recent New York Times article by pediatrician Aaron Carroll, MD, who is also a professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine. In the piece, Carroll mentions a 2002 comparative effectiveness trial that was published in JAMA that looked at various medications used for hypertension. The primary outcomes investigators were looking were fatal and non-fatal coronary heart disease.

The 4 drugs examined were chlorthalidone — a diuretic; amlodipine, known as a calcium channel blocker; doxazosin; and lisinopril, an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor.

While results showed they were all equally effective in regards to coronary heart disease, chlorthalidone was better in lowering systolic blood pressure, preventing heart failure and stroke, and lowering cardiovascular disease rates.

The results tell “us what drug is best to start if you have someone over 55 with high blood pressure and at least one risk factor for coronary heart disease,” Carroll wrote. “That’s exactly the kind of question that only a comparative effectiveness trial can answer.”

As it stands now, patients could potentially be harmed by getting a new treatment that has a safety and side effect profile that is worse than established products that have been on the market for a long time. And they could also spend more on newer drugs than don’t work as well. Consumers deserve to know how drugs in the same therapeutic class compare against each other so that they can make the most informed decision about what medication to take for a condition.

My advice: Always take the older drug for a condition unless it doesn’t work for you or you experience strong side effects.

Study Questions Aspirin’s Effect in Preventing Cardiovascular Events

People who are at a moderate risk of developing cardiovascular disease that take a low-dose aspirin daily don’t have fewer heart problems compared to those that don’t take anything, according to a new study.

Researchers enrolled more than 12,500 people aged 55 and older (men) or 60 and older (women) considered to be at moderate risk of cardiovascular disease because of high cholesterol, high blood pressure or smoking. Half were given a low dose (100 mg) of aspirin daily, while the others were given a placebo. Patients were followed for an average of 5 years. The study was sponsored by Bayer, which manufactures brand-name aspirin.

Results, published in the Lancet, showed aspirin did not help to prevent a first heart attack or stroke any more than a placebo.

About 4% in each group suffered a heart issue after 5 years. Study author J. Michael Gaziano, MD, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said one reason the rate of cardiovascular events was so low is that many of the patients were taking cholesterol and hypertension drugs that may have already been helping to cut cardiovascular risk.

Results also showed gastrointestinal bleeding events were higher in the aspirin group. Dr. Jane Armitage, University of Oxford, worked on the study and told the Associated Press that if you are healthy, it’s not worth taking a daily aspirin. Low-dose aspirin is still recommended for people who have had a heart attack or other cardiovascular event, as studies have shown it is effective in preventing another one from happening.