Heart Disease

Rethinking aspirin use

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  12 Oct 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6411, pp. 195-196
DOI: 10.1126/science.362.6411.195-b

A daily aspirin may not be so benign.

CREDIT: TAYLOR JORJORIAN/ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

Low-dose aspirin is a popular daily prevention strategy for individuals with a history of heart attack or stroke, owing to aspirin's ability to reduce the clotting action of blood, which is often compromised in cardiovascular patients. Many healthy people with no known cardiovascular problems have since adopted a daily aspirin regimen to safeguard against future heart attack or stroke. Yet a new study by McNeil et al. suggests that an aspirin per day might not be beneficial for healthy individuals 65 years of age or older. The researchers recruited more than 19,000 healthy participants and found that daily low-dose aspirin did not stave off heart attack, stroke, or major hemorrhage. In fact, daily aspirin use correlated with an increased risk of major bleeding to the gut and brain of otherwise healthy older individuals.

N. Engl. J. Med. 10.1056/NEJMoa1805819 (2018).

Navigate This Article