SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- New research coming out Tuesday, medical advice that is shifting against the use of daily aspirin to prevent heart attacks.
Western Mass News is getting answers from a cardiologist on this updated recommendation.
“One of the reasons the data of aspirin has been getting weaker is that we have other therapies for heart disease which really work,” Baystate Medical Center Preventative Cardiologist Dr. Quinn Pack said.
New guidance released on Tuesday that older adults without heart disease should not take aspirin daily to prevent heart attacks.
If finalized, this advice would discount previous recommendations that a low dose of aspirin taken daily would prevent a first heart attack or stroke.
Dr. Pack said this guidance is specifically for those without diagnosed heart disease.
The US Preventive Services Task Force is considering making several changes to its guidance on taking a daily aspirin to prevent heart disease and stroke.
“We are only talking about patients who do not have established vascular disease. So this only applies to people who are otherwise healthy. It does not apply to people who have had a heart attack, stroke, a stent, a bypass surgery, or a blocked artery in the leg or in the neck,” Dr. Pack said.
The U.S. Preventative Service Task Force released a draft recommendation with two main proposed changes to the existing guidance.
“If you are over age 60 and you do not have established vascular disease, that the risk outweighs the benefit. If you are between age 40 and 59 and you have an elevated risk of heart disease, you can have an informed discussion, and it might be the right decision,” Dr. Pack said.
But Dr. Pack said that for 90 percent of people in the 40 to 59 age range as well as some adults over 60, the risks of aspirin outweigh the benefits.
“I take an aspirin today, and I might prevent a heart attack six years from now. But I take an aspirin today, and my chance for bleeding goes up right away. So the side effects are immediate the benefit is potentially long-term,” Dr. Pack explained.
He said it is still important to have a discussion with your doctor if you are taking aspirin.
“If you were told by your doctor to take aspirin and you’re in that age category then continue to do it. If you were taking aspirin because you just thought it was a good idea and you heard on the news that taking an aspirin a day keeps the doctor away, stop taking the aspirin,” Dr. Pack said.
This guidance will allow for public comments from now until November 8. Then the group will evaluate input and make a final decision. Dr. Pack said he expects it to be finalized.