People over 60 without heart disease should not take daily low-dose aspirin to prevent a first stroke or heart attack, according to an independent panel of US health experts.
In new draft guidelines released online Tuesday, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said the risks of bleeding caused by aspirin outweigh the potential benefits for adults in their 60s who haven’t had a heart attack or stroke.
Low-dose aspirin has long been recommended for people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity or other diseases that increase their risk of heart attack or stroke.
“Aspirin use can cause serious harm, and the risk increases with age,” said task force member and Tufts Medical Center primary care expert Dr. John Wong.
Wong said adults should consult their doctor before deciding to start or stop taking aspirin, pain relievers and blood thinners.
If the guidelines are finalized, they will mark a reversal of the 2016 group’s recommendations for preventing first heart attacks and strokes. However it would be more consistent with more recent guidelines issued by other medical organizations.
Public comment on the guidelines is allowed until November 8, after which the group will consider it before making a final decision. [my/jm]