U-turn: aspirin is no longer recommended for heart attack prevention

A US panel of experts no longer recommends that people over the age of 60 take aspirin daily to reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke. People between 40 and 59 with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease but no history should consult their doctor and then decide for themselves whether to start taking the drug regularly, the panel said on Tuesday.

Has a blood-thinning effect

The decision of the US Government-appointed Independent Disease Prevention Expert (USPSTF) marks a U-turn in US medicine: in the US, aspirin is widely used because it thins blood and can thus prevent clots.

Since 2016, the panel of experts has therefore recommended all people between the ages of 40 and 50 to take the well-known pain reliever from Bayer every day if they are at least ten percent more likely to have a heart attack or sleep attack in the next ten years. In older people with an increased risk, the intake should therefore be decided on an individual basis.

Risk of internal bleeding

Studies are now calling these recommendations into question. The experts also referred on Tuesday to evidence that the risk of internal bleeding, especially in the brain or intestines, should increase with age if aspirin is taken regularly. “Taking aspirin every day can help prevent heart attacks and strokes, but it can also cause potentially serious harm, such as internal bleeding,” said USPSTF representative John Wong. The drug’s benefits were insufficient to offset this increased risk.

However, the new recommendations are not yet final. They will be open to public discussion until the beginning of November. The previous recommendation for patients who take aspirin after a stroke or heart attack is not affected by the U-turn.

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