Taking Baby Aspirin Every Day Can Actually Have Serious Health Risks

Grant Boone
September 18, 2018

The treatment was given for five years and the rate of heart diseases was not much lower in the 9,525 volunteers taking 100 mg of aspirin daily than in the 9,589 who took placebo tablets.

A daily low-dose aspirin regimen may be doing you more harm than good, it turns out.

The doctors found that taking a daily low-dose aspirin did not decrease the risk of heart attack or stroke among participants when compared with the placebo group.

Aspirin has always been used as a preventative measure to help reduce the risk of blood clots in patients who have suffered a heart attack or stroke.

"[The study] has provided this answer".

The landmark study involving more than 19,000 people aged over 70 has shown that taking a low dose (100mg) of aspirin every day will not prolong life or prevent disability, despite common beliefs the pill helps healthy seniors live longer.

It may ultimately turn out that there are more benefits than risks in certain populations, said the study's lead author, John McNeil, a professor in the department of epidemiology and preventive medicine in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Monash University in Melbourne.

Their findings were published Sunday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

After almost five years, the researchers did not observe a difference between the two groups when it came to "disability-free survival". In fact, those studies prompted the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force in 2016 to change its recommendations on aspirin use for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease, limiting its use to adults 50 to 59 who have a 10% or greater risk.

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Of the aspirin-takers, 3.8% experienced serious bleeding compared to 2.8% in the placebo group.

The study concluded that taking aspirin without a health condition is quite ineffectual in preserving health.

The study also discovered an increase in deaths from cancer, although the researchers think this needs further investigation as it goes against current findings in the field.

"A lot of people read, 'Well, aspirin is good for people who have heart problems".

Indeed, the second study details that "the risk of major hemorrhage was significantly higher with aspirin than with a placebo". Also, the rates of physical disability dementia were similar in both groups.

The current guidelines recommend a daily aspirin for adults in their 50s who are at high risk of cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or a history of smoking.

McNeil added it was important to focus on this cohort because aspirin is used by healthy, older people in the hopes that it will keep them well, with some even taking it without a prescription from their physician.

There was little difference in these measures between the 9589 patients in the placebo group and the 9525 in the aspirin group.

The participants took a daily low-dose of aspirin every day for almost five years, with researchers monitoring their health and any occurrences of disease, disability or death.

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