The controversy over the preventive use of aspirin continues. Only one in 50 women will receive heart benefits from daily aspirin – even after 10 years of taking it, a new study suggests.
Daily aspirin can help those who have already a heart attack or stroke, but its use to prevent these problems to begin with are questionable, say Dutch researchers. In addition, aspirin use comes with the risk of bleeding ulcers and bruising.
The recent study examined records for 28,000 healthy women, aged 45 and older, who received either aspirin or a placebo in an earlier U.S. trial. Aspirin was found to cut the rate of heart attacks and strokes from 2.4 percent to 2.2 percent.
“Women older than 65 years of age benefit more than average, but still for those women the benefit was so small that you would need to treat 49 for nothing to prevent one event,” said Dr. Jannick Dorresteijn of University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands. “Of course it’s disappointment, because you would like a medication to be effective.”
The American Heart Association currently recommends aspirin for those with an increased risk of heart problems.
“The central message of this study is really that there are an awful lot of women who are taking aspirin for prevention who should not be taking aspirin,” said Dr. Michael LeFevre of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.