Aspirin ``only for people with heart problems``

Updated: Nov 03, 2009, 00:00 AM IST

London: People who don’t have obvious cardiovascular disease and are taking aspirin for prevention of heart attacks and strokes should abandon the practice, researchers have advised.

The Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB) study said the drug can lead to serious internal bleeding and does not put off cardiovascular disease deaths.

"Current evidence for primary prevention suggests the benefits and harms of aspirin in this setting may be more finely balanced than previously thought, even in individuals estimated to be at high risk of experiencing cardiovascular events, including those with diabetes or elevated blood pressure," the BBC quoted Dr Ike Ikeanacho, editor of the DTB, as saying.

Professor Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, added: "Given the evidence, the DTB``s statement on aspirin prescription is a sensible one.

"The Royal College of General Practitioners would support their call for existing guidelines on aspirin prescription to be amended, and for a review of patients currently taking aspirin for prevention."

June Davison, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, further said: "It is well established that aspirin can help prevent heart attacks and strokes among people with heart and circulatory disease - so this group of people should continue to take aspirin as prescribed by their doctor.

"However, for those who do not have heart and circulatory disease the risk of serious bleeding outweighs the potential preventative benefits of taking aspirin.

"We advise people not to take aspirin daily, unless they check with their doctor.

"The best way to reduce your risk of developing this disease is to avoid smoking, eat a diet low in saturated fat and rich in fruit and vegetables and take regular physical activity," Davison added.