The Heart of the Matter: Recommendations from the USPSTF for low-dose aspirin use

LOW-DOSE ASPIRIN has long been a therapy for those with a risk of cardiovascular disease, and studies have shown it to be effective at lowering the risk of colorectal cancer as well. However, aspirin also has been shown to have health dangers, such as increasing the risk for bleeding in the stomach and intestines and hemorrhagic strokes. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) — a group tasked with making recommendations about the success of certain preventive care services — reviewed a variety of studies, follow-up data, systematic reviews, and a review of harms to come up with a recommendation statement. Recommendations concerning low-dose aspirin regiments were published online April 12 in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal.

The recommendation is for adults 40 years or older without known cardiovascular disease and without an increased bleeding risk; the recommendations are broken into age groups. The USPSTF recommends low-dose aspirin use for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer in adults aged 50 to 59 years who have a 10 percent or greater 10-year cardiovascular disease risk as long as they meet the following criteria:

• Must not be at risk for bleeding

• Should have a life expectancy of at least 10 years

• Should be prepared to take low-dose aspirin for at least 10 years

For the next age group — ages 60 to 69 — the decision to start an aspirin regimen to either prevent cardiovascular disease or colorectal cancer is one that should be made individually with one’s physician, according the recommendations by the USPSTF. The same three criteria mentioned above still apply. As to recommendations for those under 50 years of age or 70 years or older, the USP-STF maintains there is insufficient evidence to “assess the balance of benefits and harms.”

This column is sponsored by Heart & Vascular Institute of Florida.



BIO: Dr. Irfan Siddiqui is a board-certified interventional cardiologist and a practicing physician at the Heart & Vascular Institute of Florida. He takes pride in taking an integrated approach for his patients to provide comprehensive, consistent care. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, call (863) 42-HEART and ask to meet with Dr. Siddiqui.

Posted April 27, 2016

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