Aspirin, when consumed daily, has always been considered an aid in case of cardiovascular conditions. Doctors are prescribing aspirin to tackle heart attack, but new evidence shows that it might also boost risks of internal bleeding.
“US doctors have long advised adults who haven’t had a heart attack or stroke but are at high risk for these events to take a daily aspirin pill, an approach known as primary prevention. Even though there are clear evidence aspirin works for this purpose, many physicians and patients have been reluctant to follow the recommendations because of the risk of rare but potentially fatal internal bleeding,” reported Global News via Reuters.
In their study, the scientists analyzed the data from 13 clinical trials that were testing the effects of aspirin in more than 164,000 participants. The study’s results revealed that “people who took daily aspirin had a 0.38 percent lower absolute risk of heart attacks, strokes or deaths from cardiovascular events than people not taking this drug,” as Global News reported.
Aspirin Reduces Risks of Heart Attack, But It Might Boost Risks of Internal Bleeding
“The results demonstrate that there are cardiovascular benefits, but that they are quite closely matched by increased risks of serious bleeding,” explained Dr. Sean Zheng of King’s College London and Imperial College London, and the leading author of the study.
“This seriously questions whether people who have not previously had heart attacks or strokes should be taking aspirin with the aim of reducing future cardiovascular events,” added Zheng.
“Clinicians must consider other interventions in addition to aspirin, such as smoking cessation and control of blood pressure and lipid levels, to lower risk,” said Dr. Michael Gaziano of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
“In places of the world in which cardiovascular disease risk is rising or where preventive strategies, such as statins, are less available, aspirin as a low-cost intervention may have a more important role. Aspirin remains an important medication for acute management of vascular events; for use after certain procedures; for secondary prevention, and, after careful selection of the right patients, for primary prevention,” concluded Dr. Gaziano.