Is aspirin really a good way to prevent heart attacks and strokes?
It’s become common for people at risk of having a heart attack to be on low-dose aspirin to prevent one. Today, people are more likely to reach for an aspirin than nitro-glycerine if they think they’re having a heart attack. But does that mean it’s a good preventive measure?
An international study involving over 22,000 people with stable coronary disease has discovered that taking aspirin may not be the best way to prevent a heart attack or stroke if you haven’t had one yet.
Patients who did have a prior heart attack or stroke but whose coronary artery disease was now stable were found – as expected – to benefit from taking aspirin. They had a 13% less chance of having another heart attack or stroke.
However, patients who had never had a heart attack or stroke but were still on medication for stable coronary artery disease had no significant reduction in adverse events. In fact, they were slightly more at risk to have a stroke.
Always talk to your doctor before beginning any therapy, even one as seemingly innocuous as low-dose aspirin therapy.
Source: The American Journal of Medicine http://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343%2814%2900907-3/fulltext
Note: In Canada, Aspirin (R) is a registered trademark belonging to Bayer, Canada. In the US, aspirin is a generic name. Both are names for the generic medication acetylsalicylic acid or ASA.