Aspirin ‘only for heart patients’


The use of aspirin to ward off heart attacks and strokes in those who do not have obvious cardiovascular disease should be abandoned, the BBC quoted researchers as saying. The Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB) study says aspirin can cause serious internal bleeding and does not prevent cardiovascular disease deaths. It says doctors should review all patients currently taking the drug for prevention of heart disease. The Royal College of General Practitioners says it supports the DTB’s recommendations. Low-dose aspirin is widely used to prevent further episodes of cardiovascular disease in people who have already had problems such as a heart attack or stroke. This approach – known as secondary prevention – is well established and has confirmed benefits. Dr Ike Ikeanacho, editor of the DTB, said: “Current evidence for primary prevention suggests the benefits and harms of aspirin in this setting may be more finely balanced than previously thought, even in individuals estimated to be at high risk of experiencing cardiovascular events, including those with diabetes or elevated blood pressure.” Professor Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, said the DTB was an excellent source of independent advice for medical professionals. June Davison, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation said: “We advise people not to take aspirin daily, unless they check with their doctor. The best way to reduce your risk of developing this disease is to avoid smoking, eat a diet low in saturated fat and rich in fruit and vegetables and take regular physical activity.”DT

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