LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW)- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration concludes that daily aspirin use can help ward off a heart attack or stroke in some people, but it is not for everyone.
The federal agency says while there is evidence that low-dose aspirin can prevent heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular problems from re-occurring (so-called secondary prevention), the case has yet to be made for using it to prevent a first event (primary prevention).
Aspirin works by interfering with the blood's clotting action, so reducing the chance of clots developing and obstructing flow of oxygen and blood.
But for people who have not had a heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular problems, "The benefit has not been established but risks - such as dangerous bleeding into the brain or stomach - are still present," warned an FDA spokesperson. There is insufficient evidence to support use of low-dose aspirin to prevent heart attack and stroke in people who have not had one before according to the agency.
However, large trials looking at use of aspirin in primary prevention of heart attack and stroke are ongoing, and the FDA will continue to monitor them and update consumers should the evidence change.
"The bottom line is," said the FDA spokesperson, "that in people who have had a heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular problems, daily aspirin therapy is worth considering."
If you are considering using daily aspirin, said the spokesperson, you should only do so after talking to your doctor, who can help you weigh the benefits and the risks.
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