Harvard researchers and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center reported Monday that millions of people who take aspirin to prevent a heart attack may need to rethink this.
Some 29 million people 40 and older were taking an aspirin a day despite having no known heart disease in 2017. About 6.6 million of them were doing so on their own , a doctor never recommended it. Despite the hope, recent studies found only marginal benefit if any, especially for older adults. Those findings prompted a change in guidelines from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology. They say now: people over 70 who don’t have heart disease - or are younger but at increased risk of bleeding - should avoid daily aspirin for prevention; Only certain 40- to 70-year-olds who don’t already have heart disease are at high enough risk to warrant 75 to 100 milligrams of aspirin daily, and that’s for a doctor to decide.
But Aspirin still is recommended for heart attack survivors. "We hope that more primary care doctors will talk to their patients about aspirin use, and more patients will raise this with their doctors," said Dr. Colin O'Brien, a senior internal medicine resident at Beth Israel who led the study.