May 21, 2014 – Aspirin a Day?

May 21, 2014

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ANCHOR LEAD:  THE FDA SAYS THE BENEFITS OF ASPIRIN MUST BE WEIGHED AGAINST RISK, ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS

Time was that almost everyone was taking a baby aspirin a day to reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke.  Now the FDA has issued a warning on the practice, citing safety concerns.  Michael Blaha, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins and one author of a recent paper on the proper prescribing of aspirin, looks at the warning.

BLAHA: I completely agree that it shouldn’t be everyone who takes an aspirin to prevent heart attack and strokes, because it turns out that aspirin can cause quite a few side effects, like gastrointestinal bleeding and sometimes other bleeding complications.  More than any other drug I would say we need to be absolutely clear that someone’s at high enough risk of heart attack or stroke to benefit from aspirin, and it turns you need to be at substantial risk of heart attack or stroke to see a new benefit from taking a daily aspirin, so I really think you need to talk to your physician who can do an accurate risk assessment.   :30

Blaha says the risk/benefit calculation should be made for other purported benefits of aspirin therapy as well.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.

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