A major international study has found that healthy people over age 70 got no preventive benefit from aspirin and were at greater risk for harm such as stomach bleeding. It’s the third major study this year to reach a similar conclusion.
Aspirin’s reputation as an inexpensive and effective medicine to prevent heart attacks and strokes came from studies conducted decades ago.
Since then, the profession has placed a greater emphasis on prevention, including new medications to control risk factors and an emphasis on a better diet and less use of tobacco, which addressed the risks for many of those patients.
“The rate of heart attack and stroke has decreased dramatically as we got better at controlling high blood pressure and high cholesterol,” said Dr. Michael Miedema, a cardiologist at Allina Health in Minneapolis.
“At some point, we were considering recommending aspirin for everyone,” said Miedema. “The benefits that we had initially seen, we just don’t see any more.”