Friday, May 01, 2015

Aspirin a day? Before you start (or stop) read further ...

Do you take an aspirin a day?

I used to, sometimes in combination with Plavix or warfarin as physician-directed. Aspirin sellers, of course, pitch this idea in advertising. I stopped taking it after a heart procedure that reduced my stroke risk and, with no other risk factors aside from age, my cardiologist told me it's not necessary.

Turns out that lots of people take a daily aspirin to prevent a stroke or heart attack. One recent story says a daily aspirin is taken by more than half of older U.S. adults:
Most appear to start taking daily aspirin after discussing the matter with a health care provider, said study lead author Craig Williams, a pharmacotherapy specialist at Oregon State University in Portland.
That's appropriate, he said.
"We would really advocate that patients engage in those discussions with their primary provider or a cardiologist, if they have one," Williams said. "We don't advocate patients make their own decisions about whether they should use aspirin or not, because it does have some dangerous side effects and it's not for everyone."
For one thing, even low-dose aspirin (81 milligrams) can cause stomach bleeding, the researchers warned. It's not a huge risk, Williams said, affecting only about five out of 1,000 older patients, but it's enough that the guidelines do not automatically recommend daily aspirin use for all adults to prevent a first heart attack or stroke.
The last two paragraphs are important to note. Taking an aspirin daily should not be taken lightly, but only after a discussion with your doctor.

No comments: