Millions might need to stop taking this pill they thought was helping heart health

If you’re one of the millions of people who pop an aspirin daily for preventative heart health, many of you can stop now, Harvard researchers reported earlier this week.

Taking a daily, low-dose aspirin is part of – and continues to be – the program for people who have already had a heart attack or been diagnosed with heart disease.

But for everyone else, the guidelines have changed, after three major clinical trials exposed a risk of bleeding from daily aspirin use. In a report published earlier this week, researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center revealed new 2019 guidelines for aspirin use.

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Older adults (70+) who don’t have heart problems taking aspirin daily for preventative reasons is unnecessary.

For younger people 40-70 who may be at some sort of risk, it’s on a case-by-case basis – in other words, see your doctor.
Aspirin is still recommended daily for those who have had a heart attack.

The latest data from Harvard in 2017 found that 29 million people 40 and above were taking aspirin daily – even though they have no known heart disease. The information came from a study from Harvard and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Interestingly, they found that 6.6 million of these aspirin-takers who doing it on their own, not under the recommendation of a doctor.

And nearly half of people over 70 who don’t have heart disease — estimated at about 10 million — were taking daily aspirin for prevention, the researchers reported in Annals of Internal Medicine.

It’s a serious case of confusion – what aspirin can do, what it can’t, who needs to be taking a daily dose and who doesn’t.

Study co-author, Stephen Juraschek, MD, Ph.D., a primary care physician at BIDMC, cautions that “these findings are applicable to adults who do not have a history of cardiovascular disease or stroke. If you are currently taking aspirin, discuss it with your doctor to see if it is still needed for you.”