Aspirin: good or bad?
Every person who regularly takes aspirin for prophylaxis should be well aware of its side effects. The new study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, again emphasizes: although it reduces the risk of heart attack and stroke, the likelihood of severe internal bleeding increases significantly.
The authors examined the use of acetylsalicylic acid or aspirin by people without serious heart disease. They are fully established in the opinion that in such cases the harm from the drug outweighs the potential benefits.
In scientific work, scientists analyzed data from previously conducted clinical studies, which included 164,000 participants. The common opinion about the comparative safety of aspirin, scientists show, does not hold water.
"The study demonstrates that there is not enough evidence for the routine use of aspirin to prevent heart attacks and strokes for people without heart disease," said study co-author Sean Zheng from King’s College London.
He added that there is uncertainty about how to treat patients with high risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. The study showed that while aspirin can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes in these patients, this benefit is accompanied by a greater risk of internal bleeding.
Even before this study, experts believed that people should take low doses of aspirin only as prescribed by a doctor.
“We found that aspirin did reduce the incidence of cardiovascular accidents by 11%. For the prevention of a single heart attack or stroke, 265 people needed to be treated. But he also increased by 48% the risk of serious bleeding, including gastrointestinal, intracranial, requiring hospitalization or transfusion. One serious bleeding developed in the treatment of 210 patients, ”reported Zheng.
On the New Atlas website, Kevin McConway from Open University in England explained this data using a different approach. With daily intake of low doses of aspirin, heart attack and stroke develop in 57 out of 10,000 people instead of 61 people without aspirin. At the same time, heavy bleeding develops in 23 instead of 16 people per 10,000.
This seriously raises the question of whether people who have never had heart attacks and strokes should take aspirin in order to reduce their likelihood, ”Zheng told Reuters.
In an editorial introducing the study, Michael Gaziano from Brigham and Women's Hospital, who did not participate in the study, recalled that aspirin remains the most important means of preventing cardiovascular accidents while it is used wisely.