This Common Drug May Actually Do More Harm Than Good

Daily aspirin may no longer be recommended for those over 70 without a history of heart disease.

For decades, aspirin has been prescribed as a way to protect adults that from developing cardiovascular disease. However, new research indicates that aspirin may be more harmful than helpful to those who have not had any history of strokes or heart disease. The findings show that the daily recommended low-dose of aspirin is even too dangerous to prescribe to those who are at moderate risk of heart disease. In a recent study, the medicine increased the likelihood of internal gastric bleeding and provided no health benefits to older patients. 

In another study of 19,114 seniors ranging from ages to 65-70, the two groups were ordered to take aspirin daily, with one of the groups taking a placebo pill. The biggest difference that was discovered between the groups was the rate of internal bleeding. Hemorrhagic stroke, bleeding in the brain, and other types of bleeding that required transfusion occurred in 3.8 percent of patients in the aspirin-treated group. In the placebo group, only 2.7 percent of people needed blood transfusions. Aside from internal bleeding, researchers found that there was an increase in cancer deaths in the aspirin group as well.  As Dr. Anne Murray, a geriatrician and epidemiologist underscores, “We knew there would an increased risk of bleeding with aspirin, because there has always been. But not only did it not decrease the risk of disability or death, it also did not decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke, and there was an increase in the rate of death."

Overall, experts conclude that if patients have not had a heart attack or stroke and are not at a high risk of heart disease, doctors should consider changing their medication regiment. More research will be required to determine the benefits and drawbacks of this all-too-common pill. Curious if you are at risk for heart disease? Fill out this risk estimator form to find out. 

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