FDA Recommends Against Using Aspirin for Primary Prevention of Heart Attack or Stroke

Aspirin should not be used to prevent a first heart attack or stroke in patients with no history of cardiovascular disease, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In statement released on May 5, the FDA said that its review of available data does not support the use of aspirin for primary prevention of a heart attack or stroke. Furthermore, the Agency pointed out that aspirin use is associated with "serious risks," including increased risk of bleeding in the stomach and brain.

"It's a useful statement to warn people that aspirin is not a blanket therapy," said Allen Taylor, MD, FACC, in a Bloomberg article covering the announcement. "It's not innocuous."

As for secondary prevention for people with cardiovascular disease or those who have had a previous heart attack or stroke, the available evidence continues to support aspirin use. "In patients who have had a cardiovascular event, the known benefits of aspirin for secondary prevention outweigh the risk of bleeding," noted the FDA.

This development highlights the importance of patients having one-on-one discussions with their health care providers regarding the best treatment options for their individual circumstances.

Clinical Topics: Prevention

Keywords: Aspirin, Brain, Hemorrhage, Myocardial Infarction, Primary Prevention, Secondary Prevention, Stomach, Stroke, United States Food and Drug Administration

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