According to new recommendations
from the US Preventive Services Task Force, starting a regimen of daily aspirin is not necessarily a good idea.
They say that people age 60 or older
start a daily aspirin regimen to prevent heart attack and stroke (if they do not have a previous medical history of cardiovascular disease).
People who are 40-59 should start daily aspirin intake only if they are at a high risk for heart disease or stroke and they have been recommended to do so by their physician.
In contrast to current popular opinion, the Task Force said that after the age of 75, there is little benefit to continuing to take an aspirin each day.
The recommendations have changed because, “The chance of internal bleeding increases with age, (and) the potential harms of aspirin use cancel out the benefits,” according to Michael Barry, MD, vice chair and director of the Informed Medical Decisions Program at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Many of us know that doctors for many years have been recommending taking a baby aspirin. But new evidence shows that a daily aspirin could actually be harmful, and now clinicians are changing their tune.
Steven Nissen, MD, a heart specialist at the Cleveland Clinic, recently told ABC News
, “It is important for the public to understand that for the vast majority of Americans without pre-existing heart disease, aspirin does not provide a net benefit. The harms are approximately equal to any benefits.”
It should be noted that the FDA has been against the daily use of aspirin for low risk people, for the past 20 years.
The American Heart Association
recommends that aspirin be used rarely to prevent heart attack and stroke in people between the ages of 40-70 that do not have a history of cardiovascular disease. People who have already had a heart attack or stroke and are on a daily aspirin regimen, should do what is prescribed by their doctor. The benefits should outweigh the risks.
The new information is aimed at those who have not been taking aspirin daily. The task force says that people who have already had a heart attack or stroke may benefit from daily aspirin.
A clinical research study of 19,000 healthy adults, average age 74, found no benefit to taking daily aspirin, compared to placebo. Participants who took aspirin had a higher rate of significant bleeding during the five-year study, according to results published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine in 2018.
In 2021, a study was published in the journal Gut. That study did not show a high risk of serious bleeds in younger healthy people.
Of note, the American Journal of Medicine published a paper in March 2010 that said that regular use of aspirin (regular being defined as at least twice a week) increases the risk of hearing loss by 12% in men, and 33% increased risk of hearing loss in men younger than 50. NSAID’s and acetaminophen was also reported to increase the risk of hearing loss.
A study in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2016 did not find a significant correlation between hearing loss and long-term use of aspirin in women.
Another study in 182 patients with heart disease who took aspirin, and 221 similar age patients who didn’t, age of the patient was more important than their aspirin intake in regard to hearing loss.
Some doctors still say that if you’re having a heart attack, you should chew a full-strength aspirin (call 9-1-1 first), because it may reduce the damage to the heart.
In summary, following are the pros and cons of daily aspirin intake. Always talk to your medical professional before making any changes to your daily regimen:
- May prevent heart attack
- May prevent stroke
- May prevent preeclampsia in pregnancy
- Diabetics may benefit
- May reduce colon cancer risk
- May lower liver, esophageal and breast cancer risk
- Emergency first aid for heart attacks
- Brain bleeding risk
- Gastric bleeding risk
- Drug interactions
- Reye’s syndrome risk in children
- People with asthma could have reactions
- Possible hearing loss