MONDAY, Sept. 16, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Debate over the benefits and drawbacks of daily low-dose aspirin has flared in recent years, with guidelines now generally urging against the regimen to prevent a first heart attack or stroke in healthy people.
But some people with good heart health still might benefit from taking daily low-dose aspirin, a new study from New Zealand argues.
About 2.5% of women and 12% of men would likely benefit from daily aspirin during a five-year period, based on an analysis of more than 245,000 heart-healthy New Zealand residents.
“In our study, we were able to predict for each individual, by taking into account their personal characteristics, their propensity to benefit from or be harmed by aspirin,” said lead researcher Vanessa Selak, an epidemiologist with the University of Auckland in New Zealand.
“Using this personalized approach enabled us to identify specific individuals who were likely to benefit from aspirin after weighing up aspirin’s effects on both cardiovascular events and serious bleeding,” Selak continued.
That would seem to contradict new guidelines issued earlier this year by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC).
The two groups concluded that for older adults with healthy hearts, the risk of bleeding that comes with aspirin therapy outweighs any heart benefit.
“We used to say aspirin generally yes, occasionally no. Now we say aspirin generally no, occasionally yes,” said Dr. Amit Khera, who served on the ACC/AHA committee that wrote the guidelines.
However, Khera feels this new study actually supports the new guidelines.
“This modeling exercise confirmed it’s a very small group of the population that potentially could be eligible for aspirin,” said Khera, a professor of cardiology with UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
These guidelines are not for people who’ve had an emergency regarding their heart health. Those people do derive overall benefit from aspirin, he said.
“If you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, continue to take your aspirin,” Khera said.
But clinical trial data that emerged in 2018 showed that daily aspirin taken by people in good heart health only reduces their risk of heart attack and stroke by 11%, but increases their risk of dangerous bleeding by 43%, he added.