Aspirin may help reduce the risk of nonfatal MI and stroke in some adults

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A daily dose of aspirin may reduce the risk of nonfatal MI and stroke in adults between 50 and 69 years old who are at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) draft recommendation statement. The USPSTF developed a cardiovascular disease microsimulation model to determine cardiovascular risk.

The draft statement is open to public comment until Oct. 12.

“Taking aspirin is easy, but deciding whether or not to take aspirin for prevention is complex,” USPSTF vice chair Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, PhD, MD, MAS, said in a news release. “People aged 50 to 69 should talk with their doctor about their risk of cardiovascular disease and risk of bleeding, and discuss whether taking aspirin is right for them.”

The USPSTF recommended low-dose aspirin to prevent nonfatal MI and stroke for adults between 50 and 59 years old who have a 10 percent or higher 10-year cardiovascular risk, are not at increased risk for bleeding, have a life expectancy of at least 10 years and are willing to take low-dose aspirin on a daily basis for at least 10 years.

Meanwhile, the USPSTF said the decision to use aspirin to prevent nonfatal MI and stroke should be evaluated on an individual level for adults between 60 and 69 years old. In that age category, the most benefit would be found in people who are not at increased risk for bleeding, have a life expectancy of at least 10 years and are willing to take low-dose aspirin daily for at least 10 years.

For adults younger than 50 and older than 69, the evidence is insufficient to determine if daily aspirin would help prevent nonfatal MI and stroke.

The USPSTF said the recommendations are intended for adults who are at least 40 years old, have no known cardiovascular disease and are not at increased risk of bleeding.

In addition, the USPSTF noted the optimal dose of aspirin to prevent cardiovascular disease events was unknown, although it suggested the commonly prescribed dose of 81 mg per day was appropriate.

When determining whether to take aspirin, the USPSTF recommended evaluating the risk for bleeding, preferences about taking aspirin, baseline cardiovascular disease risk and age.

The USPSTF, created in 1984, is an independent panel of 16 volunteers who are experts in prevention, evidence-based medicine and primary care. Its recommendations are independent of the U.S. government and are not an official position of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.