Pharmacy News

USPSTF says aspirin recs to prevent heart attack or stroke should be changed

Health experts now believe that daily use of low-dose aspirin—once viewed as an inexpensive and effective prophylaxis against heart disease—has more potential harms than benefits.

The proposed new draft guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), released on October 12, 2021, apply to patients younger than age 60 years with elevated risk for heart disease who may have been prescribed 81 to 100 mg of aspirin per day to avert a first heart attack or stroke. For those patients, the draft guidelines suggest that there is a small net benefit to such a regimen, but evaluations should be done on an individual basis.

For patients aged 60 years and older, USPSTF is now discouraging the regimen due to concerns about serious bleeding risks in this age demographic.

USPSTF is also stepping back from its 2016 guidance recommending low-dose aspirin to prevent colorectal cancer, saying additional research is warranted.

The expert panel is accepting public comment on the new recommendations until November 8. The guidelines could affect tens of millions of adults with high risk for cardiovascular disease.

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