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Aspirin heart warning

Tuesday January 10th, 2012

Healthy people who take aspirin for the sake of their hearts are "unlikely to benefit," British researchers warned last night.

A major analysis, conducted by researchers at St George's, University of London, UK, has found that only people with known heart disease should take the pill.

They found that although taking aspirin prevents heart attacks, it also causes a big increase in internal bleeding. And it only seemed to prevent fatal heart attacks.

The findings come from an analysis of nine trials involving more than 100,000 people, reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Researcher Dr Rao Seshasai called for a review of existing recommendations on aspirin use.

He said: "The beneficial effect of aspirin on preventing future cardiovascular disease events in people with established heart attacks or strokes is indisputable. We urge people with these conditions not to discontinue their medication unless advised to do so by their physicians for valid reasons.

“However, the benefits of aspirin in those individuals not known to have these conditions are far more modest than previously believed and, in fact, aspirin treatment may potentially result in considerable harm due to major bleeding."

Natasha Stewart, <!a specialist heart nurse> of the British Heart Foundation, said: "Aspirin can help reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke among those with known heart disease, and this group of people should continue to take aspirin as prescribed by their doctor.

"Our advice is that people who don’t have symptomatic or diagnosed heart disease shouldn’t take aspirin because the risk of internal bleeding may outweigh the benefits.

"If you’re taking prescribed aspirin and have any concerns, don’t simply stop taking it. Always talk to your doctor first.”

Effect of aspirin on vascular and nonvascular outcomes: Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Dr S R Kondapally Seshasai et al, Archives of Internal Medicine January 2011

Tags: Heart Health | Pharmaceuticals | UK News

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