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Aspirin ‘risk’ may outweigh benefits

NEW YORK, Dec 21, (RTRS): Healthy adults who take daily aspirin to stave off heart disease may be inviting more harm than benefit, according to a new review of past studies. Adults face a crush of conflicting health messages about aspirin and the role it plays as a preventive medicine. In an attempt to bring clarity to the topic, UK researchers sifted through the most recent evidence from nine randomized controlled trials — which are considered medicine’s gold standard — and other systematic reviews of such trials.

They found a total of 27 studies between 2008 and 2012 that fell within their criteria. “Too many healthy people think that aspirin will prevent heart attacks and cancer,” said Dr Peter Sandercock of the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. Sandercock has extensive research experience in this subject, but was not involved in the current study. “This shows that if you are healthy, with no symptoms of cardiovascular disease, then it’s not sensible to take regular aspirin. It won’t improve your health,” he told Reuters Health.

The study, he said, reminded him of another recent report that suggested vitamin supplements may not have clear benefits for healthy people. “There is a plethora of evidence in this area but nobody has drawn together the advantages and disadvantages of aspirin in a systematic way,” said Paul Sutcliffe of Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick in England. He led the study published in the openaccess journal PLOS ONE. “We need to be extremely careful about promoting the daily use without fully understanding all the evidence,” Sutcliffe told Reuters Health

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