People Over Age 50 Should Take Daily Aspirin: Study

September 1, 2005-- Posted at 3:00 PM CDT

Daily, low-dose aspirin should be taken by people 50 years and older to reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke, says an article in the British Medical Journal.

"The possibility that a simple, daily, inexpensive low-dose pill would achieve a reduction in vascular events, and might achieve reductions in cancer and dementia without the need for screening, deserves serious consideration," Peter Elwood, chairman of the Welsh Aspirin Group at Cardiff University in Penarth, Wales, said in a prepared statement.

He and his colleagues concluded that by age 50, 80 percent of men and 50 percent of women reach a risk level for heart attack and stroke that requires daily aspirin. They said that between 90 percent and 95 percent of people could take low-dose aspirin without experiencing any problems, Bloomberg news reported.

The Welsh Aspirin Group was established by the Aspirin Foundation to promote the use of aspirin.

Colin Baigent of the Oxford Radcliffe Infirmary expressed concerns about the use of daily, low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attack and stroke.

"A recommendation that aspirin be used for primary prevention of vascular disease in unselected people over a certain age could result in net harm, and we must have very good evidence to the contrary before instituting such a policy," Baigent wrote in the same issue of the journal.

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