Researchers have questioned the benefits of aspirin to stave off heart attack or stroke in people without a history of cardiovascular disease.
Aspirin may not have the same level of positive effect previously thought, given the associated risk of internal bleeding, when trying to prevent heart attack or stroke, according to a study at St George’s University of London.
The drug has been widely used to reduce the risk of clots forming in blood vessels, which lead to heart disease and stroke.
However, according to the study, clinicians have failed to assess the relative benefit of aspirin in relation to the possible side effects for people without a history of cardiovascular disease.
Dr Sharlin Ahmed, research liaison officer at the Stroke Association, commented: “People who think that taking aspirin on a regular basis as a precaution without advice from their doctor should be aware of the potential harm they could be causing themselves.”
However, those who have specifically been told to take aspirin following a cardiovascular episode should continue to do so, according to Dr Ahmed.
An alternative preventative treatment to aspirin has not yet been discovered, despite studies trying to develop such a drug to limit side effects.