Correspondent in New York
An influential panel of experts in US medical practice has changed its recommendations on daily aspirin use for most people to prevent the risk of a first heart attack and for the prevention of colorectal cancer. For years, doctors have routinely prescribed low-dose aspirin to prevent these ailments, but now experts are changing course after studies suggest that may have more risks than benefits.
The recommendations are within a draft of the US Preventive Services Task Force, a panel of 16 experts appointed by the director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a federal body. His work, however, is independent and his recommendations are often taken into account by the medical community.
The panel has overturned the recommendation in force so far that, universally, adults at high risk of heart disease take low doses of aspirin if your risk of side effects is low. Someone is considered high risk if they have a 10% chance of having a heart attack in the next ten years. Now the proposal is that adults between 40 and 50 talk to their doctor before starting a regular aspirin intake.
Only for heart attacks
The recommendation for the use of the analgesic is maintained for those who are already taking it or for those who have already had a heart attack. And experts also now strongly advise against people over 60 starting to take aspirin.
The reason for the change in recommendations is the increased risk observed in studies, which has caused more and more medical organizations to be cautious with the use of aspirin. The drug contributes to inhibit the formation of clots that can block arteries, but it can also increase the risk of bleeding, especially in the digestive tract. The risk increases with age.
“When we look at the scientific studies, most suggest that the result is not favorable for the majority of people,” Dr. Amit Khera, one of the signatories of the recommendations, told The New York Times. “There were more strokes than attacks. forewarned ».
“It is not a universal prevention method”
The dominant idea in the scientific community is that aspirin cannot be taken as a universal prevention method and that it is essential that patients talk with their doctors to decide on its use. What’s more, there are more and more ways to control heart risks – blood pressure monitoring, cholesterol treatments – without having to undergo the side effects of aspirin.
In the case of colorectal cancer, there are studies that suggest that the use of aspirin is related to an increase, not a decrease, in cases, while some doctors warned that there are patients who skip the recommendations for reviews.