The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is updating its guidance to advise adults over the age of 60 not to take a daily regimen of aspirin to prevent heart disease or stroke. The group said that new evidence shows that the risks of taking aspirin every day outweigh any potential benefits.
"The latest evidence is clear: starting a daily aspirin regimen in people who are 60 or older to prevent a first heart attack or stroke is not recommended," Task Force member Dr. Chien-Wen Tseng said in a statement. "However, this Task Force recommendation is not for people already taking aspirin for a previous heart attack or stroke; they should continue to do so unless told otherwise by their clinician."
The panel also recommended that people between the ages of 40 and 59 who have a high risk for heart disease but do not have a history of heart problems should speak with their doctor to decide whether they should begin taking aspirin.
"Daily aspirin use may help prevent heart attacks and strokes in some people, but it can also cause potentially serious harms, such as internal bleeding," Task Force member Dr. John Wong said. "It's important that people who are 40 to 59 years old and don't have a history of heart disease have a conversation with their clinician to decide together if starting to take aspirin is right for them."
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for roughly 25% of all deaths in the country.
The draft recommendations have been submitted for public comments. The commenting period will end on November 8 at 11:59 p.m. ET.