Heart Benefits of Aspirin Questioned

by Malc on October 21, 2008

heart-3kTaking aspirin for heart disease prevention has been a standard recommendation for some time. Although aspirin is known to make internal bleeding more likely – notably where there is ulceration of the stomach – we have been told that the dangers are outweighed by the benefits.

New research now questions whether the preventive aspect of taking aspirin works at all.

Heart Study Details

1276 diabetic patients were studied, who had no history of a heart attack, but who had some evidence of artery disease. In other words, they were likely candidates for a future heart attack.

The study was led by Professor Jill Belch at Dundee University, Scotland.

Heart Study Results

After 8 years, patients in the ‘aspirin’ group had experienced 116 heart attacks; whereas those given placebos had suffered 117 heart attacks. Thus there was no significant benefit to taking the aspirin.

Conclusion

In this study, there was no benefit to taking aspirin for prevention of heart attack, but there was an increased risk of intestinal bleeding from taking aspirin.

Therefore, those who have not yet had a heart attack and are taking aspirin purely for protection – the ‘worried well’ – should question whether they should risk taking aspirin.

This study did not consider those who have actually had a heart attack and whether aspirin benefited them.

(Talk with your doctor before changing any medication you are taking.)

Further information:
Press release, Dundee University
MSN News coverage


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