Aspirin is on TV nearly every day as a the first line defense for preventing heart-attacks. Interestingly, a few months ago, there was a 60-Minute program discussing how new discovery shows that Aspirin doesn’t actually help women in the case of heart attacks but rather help with stroke and for men it helps with heart but not with stroke. This was an interesting story and I wondered why, after this information, Bayer was continuing to advocate Aspirin as heart attack prevention aiming at women.
Well, I suppose my question was answered: Bayer was not supposed to advertise Aspirin for women and actually not even for men who had no heart attacks before!
On May 2nd 2014 the FDA came out with new regulation preventing Bayer to claim that Aspirin provides protection, can prevent, or even help a first heart attack. In other words, Aspirin is not a first prevention medicine anymore. How life changes! And how few listen and pay attention! If you go to visit your doctor today and ask, I bet he/she will tell you to take an Aspirin every day, the baby 81 mg one, to prevent a heart attack once you are over the age of 50.
I hear doctors tell me all the time that everyone over 50 should take a baby Aspirin! Well I guess not! You can read the argument and the final decision with the many case studies that showed no effect of Aspirin on those with first case of a heart attack or prevention of them. Aspirin apparently neither prevents nor helps a heart attack as long as the person does not have a history of heart attacks!
Here is a quote from the FDA’s new regulation:
FDA has reviewed studies on the use of aspirin for the prevention of a first cardiovascular event (primary prevention) and did not find sufficient support for the use of aspirin for primary prevention in these trials. FDA is currently awaiting results of additional clinical trials that are underway and are estimated to have reportable results in the next few years. These clinical trials may provide new evidence that could be the basis for changing the current uses (indications) for aspirin….
FDA recently denied a request submitted by Bayer HealthCare, LLC, requesting a change in the prescribing information for health care professionals (professional labeling) for aspirin to allow marketing of the product for prevention of heart attacks in patients with no prior history of cardiovascular disease.
After the 2003 advisory committee meeting, FDA was aware of several ongoing studies for primary prevention in patients with diabetes and diseases of the arteries and veins located outside of the heart and brain (peripheral vascular disease). We opted to wait for the outcome of these studies. The results of these studies were published over the past several years. They did not demonstrate a significant benefit for primary prevention….
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) national initiative, the Million Hearts Campaign, is focused on increasing appropriate, secondary prevention aspirin use in individuals who already have heart disease or stroke. The CDC, in its Million Hearts Campaign, agrees with FDA’s position.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommends, as does FDA, the use of aspirin for secondary prevention. Specifically, NHLBI recommends using aspirin to lower the risk of a heart attack for those who have already had one, and to keep arteries open in those who have had a previous heart bypass or other artery-opening procedure such as coronary angioplasty.
Should you throw your bottle of Aspirin away? If you never had a heart attack, yes, throw Aspirin out. It causes stomach problems, insults GERD further–can create GERD in fact–and its most important benefit that we thought was true is not true. So throw it away until you have a heart attack. Can you prevent heart attack without Aspirin? Absolutely! Eat right, exercise, stop eating sugar, drink more water, be happy. You will less likely to have a heart attack if you have a healthy lifestyle.
When should you take Aspirin? If you already had a heart attack or a stroke, do have Aspirin with you. Depending on what other medications you may take, you may not be able to take Aspirin also unless you are experiencing a heart attack. Thus its use is limited as of now. But stay tuned, things may change! We live in a dynamic world!
Comments are welcome as always!
As a comment I received an article that just published by JAMA that is the leading medical research journal. A friend sent it (thanks Roald!) and I thought that for those of you interested in a more technical and scientific data that is most recent will appreciate a longitudinal study that was stopped prior to reaching mid-time of the clinical trial because it showed that there was absolutely no benefit of aspirin on heart or stroke or hypertension or anything on a large population tested in Japan. So Aspirin a day? Nah.. forget it… go for a walk!