23 Jul Older Adults Should Reevaluate Daily Aspirin
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Christina C. Wee, MD, MPH
Associate Professor of Medicine
Harvard Medical School
Director , Obesity Research Program Division of General Medicine
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC)
Associate Program Director, Internal Medicine Program, BIDMC
Deputy Editor of the Annals of Internal Medicine
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: New research is showing that for many people without diagnosed heart disease, the risk of bleeding may outweigh the benefits of taking a daily aspirin particularly in adults over 70 years of age. The American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology recently updated their guidelines and now explicitly recommend against aspirin use among those over the age of 70 who do not have existing heart disease or stroke.
Our study found that in 2017, a quarter of adults aged 40 years or older without cardiovascular disease – approximately 29 million people – reported taking daily aspirin for prevention of heart disease. Of these, some 6.6. million people did so without a physician’s recommendation.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Concerningly, nearly half of adults 70 years and older (over 9 million adults) without a history of heart disease or stroke reported taking aspirin daily. Moreover, adults who had a history of peptic ulcer disease – another contraindication for the routine use of aspirin – were not significantly less likely to use aspirin as we would have expected.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Readers should be aware that our understanding of the benefits and risks of aspirin use for preventing new heart disease has changed and that they should talk to their doctor about whether aspirin use in this context is appropriate for their particular health situation.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: This study looked at aspirin use in 2017 before the recent release of the new guidelines. It would be important to see whether aspirin use to prevent heart disease among patients without pre-existing heart disease or stroke changes in response to these new recommendations.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: I want to emphasize that this study did not look at adults who had a history of heart disease or stroke. Every person’s health situation is unique, we recommend that people talk to their doctors before making any changes.
Colin W. O’Brien, Stephen P. Juraschek, Christina C. Wee. Prevalence of Aspirin Use for Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in the United States: Results From the 2017 National Health Interview Survey. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2019; DOI: 10.7326/M19-0953
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