Analysing our aspirin advice

Professor Gerry Fowkes

Professor Gerry Fowkes, University of Edinburgh

Researchers examined the benefits of taking a daily aspirin. The results affirmed our advice that only people with symptomatic or diagnosed heart disease should take aspirin every day.

Aspirin and heart disease

Researchers examined the benefits of taking a daily aspirin. The results affirmed our advice that only people with symptomatic or diagnosed heart disease should take aspirin every day.

Aspirin is vital for treating heart disease – it reduces the risk of blood clots that might otherwise lead to heart attacks. But this positive effect has the side effect of increasing the chance of internal bleeding, so it’s important to understand when the risks might outweigh the benefits.

Anaylsing data from previous studies

“We examined aspirin treatment and its impact on a group at risk of heart attack – people with evidence of artery disease in their legs” explained Professor Gerry Fowkes. The researchers analysed data from 16 previous studies carried out world-wide to see any patterns that might otherwise be hidden in just one study.

This kind of research is crucial for providing evidence to show which treatments work and what improvements can be made. “Our study showed that this group, though at increased risk of heart attack, should not take daily aspirin to reduce that risk because of the side effects,” said Professor Fowkes.

But recently there has been increasing evidence that aspirin can reduce the risk of cancer. This means our advice could change so please keep an eye on our news section for more updates.