people – including a substantial number of the "worried well" – take a daily dose of the drug in the belief it will keep them
But at a conference
for leading doctors, British scientists said they have found that
for healthy people taking aspirin does not significantly reduce
the risk of a heart attack.
At the same
time they found it almost doubles the risk of being admitted to
hospital due to internal bleeding.
show that for otherwise healthy people the risks of taking aspirin
outweigh the benefits. The doctors stressed that patients who had
already suffered a heart attack should continue to take the drug.
It has been
suggested that aspirin could be included in a so-called ‘polypill’
with an anti-cholesterol statin and a blood pressure drug which
could be taken by everyone aged over 50.
substantial numbers of ‘worried well’ take aspirin as a ‘just in
case’ measure believing that because it has been around for such
a long time it is completely safe.
of a study carried out in Scotland and presented at the European
Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona has added to the growing
evidence that the risks outweigh the benefits for healthy people.
Fowkes of the Wolfson Unit for Prevention of Peripheral Vascular
Disease in Edinburgh, said: “Our research suggests that aspirin
should not be prescribed to the general population at this stage.
probably leads to a minor reduction in future events but the problem
is that has to be weighed against an increase in bleeding. Some
of that bleeding can be quite serious and lead to death.”
Weissberg, Medical Director of the British Heart Foundation, which
part-funded the study, said: "A lot of the worried well buy
a small dose of aspirin over the counter not understanding that
they are increasing their risk substantially of a major bleed."