Aspirin: An Old Drug with a New Indication


Elizabeth Moxley an Adjunct Faculty Member at the College of DuPage and an Assistant Professor at DePaul University shared that aspirin (ASA) is a widely used drug and popular in the news lately. A recent study published in JACC (J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015 Jan 20;65(2):111-21) reports that more than 11% of individuals who take ASA daily to reduce the risk of heart disease, should not; it carries the risk of GI bleeding. The American Heart Association (AHA) guidelines suggest daily ASA for individuals who have a 10-year cardiovascular risk of at least 10%. (See NIH risk calculator for risk assessment). The study also estimated that 17% of women taking ASA had less than a 6% risk, and therefore, ‘may be doing more harm than good’, according to the author of the study, Dr. Virani. In a similar vein,

Dr. S. Nissen, from the Cleveland Clinic recommends not taking ASA to prevent a first heart attack or stroke and believes millions of individuals may take ASA who should not. These warnings have been considered in part, as ASA therapy has for the first time been recommended to prevent not only heart attacks, but colorectal cancer (CA) according to an expert panel.

The guidelines of the draft report (Sept. 14, 2015) from the US Preventive Services Task Force, found that the benefits of low-dose ASA outweighed the risks in adults ages 50-69 who are at high risk for heart disease, with the most benefit for those in their 50s and lower for adults between 60-69 years, as the risk for bleeding increases with age. No current recommendations are listed for individuals less than 50 or older than 70 years.

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