After years of recommending that middle-aged and older Americans consider taking low-dose aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is planning to overhaul its guidelines, based on new studies that show that the risks of low-dose aspirin may greatly reduce or cancel out the benefits.
For people ages 40-59, the draft recommendation (PDF) says that the latest scientific evidence found that regularly taking low-dose aspirin – 81 milligrams to 100 milligrams – to prevent a first heart attack or stroke may have only a ‘small net benefit’ for those who are at high risk for cardiovascular disease.
For those 60 or older, they should no longer consider taking a daily low-dose or baby aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke due to the risk, especially bleeding of the stomach, intestine, or brain.
The USPSTF is also retreating from its 2016 recommendation to take baby aspirin for the prevention of colorectal cancer.
It’s important to note that this draft recommendation does not apply to people who have already suffered a heart attack or stroke. The task force still recommends that those people take aspirin preventatively.
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