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New Guidelines for Those Who Take Aspirin Daily PDF Print E-mail
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Thursday, 19 March 2009 13:28

There are new guidelines for those who take an aspirin a day to ward off a potential heart attack or stroke. Read More

The U.S. Preventative Service Task Force (USPSTF) has issued new guidelines that are tailored for age and gender.The new recommendations only pertain to those who have never suffered a heart attack or stroke.

The last recommendations released by the task force were released in 2002, but with new research emerging on aspirin being prescribed to at-risk patients, and research showing signs that patient symptoms, medical history, age, and gender also need to be considered, the task force has released new recommendations. They were published in the March 17, 2009 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. The recommendations affect many adults through the U.S., with around one-third of American adults currently taking an aspirin daily to potentially ward off a pending heart attack or stroke. Based on the newly released recommendations, many of these patients may need to weigh the benefits against the potential risks, of taking the medication.

USPSTF has new recommendations for patients who have never suffered a stroke or heart attack in regards to a daily aspirin as a preventative measure. Men ranging in age from 45 to 79 should consider their risk of bleeding, making sure the benefits outweigh the risks. Women at risk of stroke and ranging in age of 55 to 79, who are at risk for a first schematic stroke, should consider the risk of a daily aspirin and make sure the benefits outweigh the risks of bleeding. The group doesn’t recommend men under 45 and women under 55, who have never suffered a heart attack or stroke, take a daily aspirin as a preventative measure. The task force was unable to find a recommendation for daily aspirin use for men and women over 80.

A baby aspirin a day, 81 mg, is a common recommendation by doctors to patients who are at risk for heart attack or stroke. However, the new task force recommendation doesn’t specify an optimum dosage. They do note that preventative trials have shown benefits from varying dosages and regimens, but USPSTF states that the risk of Gastrointestinal bleeding increases as the dosage of aspirin increases, and a lower dosage seems as effective as a high dosage.

Dr. Michael Pignone, a member of USPSTF and chief of general internal medicine at the University of North Carolina, said, "The updated USPSTF recommendation emphasizes the importance of considering the potential benefits and downsides of using aspirin for cardiovascular prevention. It's clear that discussing aspirin use with patients in the targeted age groups should become standard practice for clinicians." There are more risks to consider when prescribing an aspirin a day as a preventative measure such as, age, gender, diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, smoking and GI bleeding. Talk to your doctors in regards to benefits and potential risks before taking a daily aspirin. While the little white pill can be a life saver in some situations, it could potentially be deadly in others.


Source: Heather Hajek 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 April 2009 13:20


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