Is a Daily Aspirin Right for You?

Aspirin recommendation for heart attack, stroke and colorectal cancer prevention issued by USPSTF

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(RxWiki News) The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has issued a recommendation on taking aspirin for heart attack, stroke and colorectal cancer prevention for certain patients.

The USPSTF recommends low-dose aspirin use for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and colorectal cancer in adults aged 50 to 59 years who have a 10 percent or greater 10-year CVD risk, are not at increased risk for bleeding, have a life expectancy of at least 10 years and are willing to take low-dose aspirin daily for at least 10 years.

Adults aged 60 to 69 years who have a 10 percent or greater 10-year CVD risk may also be candidates for daily low-dose aspirin therapy.

Aspirin — one of the most common and inexpensive over-the-counter drugs — has recently been shown to relieve a great deal more than headaches. The new USPSTF recommendation weighs the evidence from a growing body of research on aspirin and takes into account concerns about its potential harms.

The USPSTF is a panel of experts that makes evidence-based recommendations for clinical care, including cancer screening and preventive medicine use.

This is the first time the USPSTF has issued a recommendation regarding aspirin to prevent both CVD and colorectal cancer. Separate recommendations were made on preventing colorectal cancer and CVD in 2007 and 2009, respectively.

While low-dose aspirin may have cardiovascular and cancer benefits, the medicine isn't risk-free — it is known to cause digestive system bleeding and may increase stroke risk.

The USPSTF panel said more research is needed to assess whether taking aspirin is beneficial for people younger than 50 or older than 70.

The full recommendation was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Last Updated:
April 11, 2016