Doctors have long recommended taking a low-dose aspirin daily to reduce the risk of heart problems, but in the past year, those recommendations have seen reversals, with some experts saying that for people who have not had a cardiac event, a daily aspirin isn’t not only unnecessary—it’s dangerous. And it won’t prevent a first heart attack.
Now, an expert panel, United States Preventive Services Task Force, is recommending daily aspirin to prevent heart attacks, stroke, and colorectal cancer.
In a draft report published Monday, an independent group of physicians appointed by the Department of Health and Human Services suggested adults between 50-69 years old and at an elevated risk for heart disease take a low-dose aspirin daily.
The recommendation goes on to say that those in the next age bracket of 60-69 with a high risk for heart disease that the potential benefit is smaller because of the risk of stomach and brain bleeding—common side effects of aspirin intake—increase with age. These individuals should discuss their cardiovascular disease risk and the potential benefit of taking aspirin with their doctor.
This marks the first time a prominent American medical association has issued a recommendation to take aspirin to prevent cancer. It follows a growing body of research that shows that aspirin may be more powerful in the fight against cancer than originally thought, reports the New York Times.
The draft guidelines have garnered some criticism, with some worrying that some healthy people might take aspirin and introduce more problems rather than allay them.
As with any health measure, the guideline strongly advises that people consult with their physicians before beginning an aspirin regimen.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the recommendations for adults 60-69.