Monday, August 31, 2009
The research at the university in Scotland was to assess the effects of taking aspirin on a daily basis where no prior or existing medical conditions would merit its prescription. The researchers monitored 3,350 patients aged between 50–75, who were thought to be at risk of heart disease, but did not show any significant symptoms at the start of the study. Over an eight-year time period, 181 of those people taking aspirin had heart attacks or strokes.
More than 3,000 men aged 50–75 were randomly assigned to receive a daily dose of aspirin or a placebo pill and were watched over the eight year time period. There were 34 major bleeds in people taking aspirin, or 2%, in comparison to 1.2% of those who took the placebo. The Aspirin for Asymptomatic Atherosclerosis (AAA) have found that the routine use of aspirin does not prevent vascular disease or conditions and the use of it “could not be supported.”
Peter Weissberg, a professor at the British Heart Foundation, the company which was partly responsible in funding for the trials said, “we know that patients with symptoms of artery disease, such as angina, heart attack or stroke, can reduce their risk of further problems by taking a small dose of aspirin each day. The findings of this study agree with our current advice that people who do not have symptomatic or diagnosed artery or heart disease should not take aspirin, because the risks of bleeding may outweigh the benefits. Because it’s been around for a long time, people think, ‘It must be safe and it can’t do any harm’. They are taking it ‘just in case’ but it’s much more dangerous than some other drugs that people get concerned about, like statins.”
Professor Gerry Fowkes presented the research from the University of Edinburgh at the European Society of Cardiology congress in Barcelona, Spain, which was attended by more than 30,000 heart specialists.
“Our research suggests that aspirin should not be prescribed to the general population, although it does have benefits for people with established heart disease or other conditions,” stated Fowkes.