New guidelines advise against taking Aspirin to prevent heart disease, first stroke

A new guideline from Heart and Stroke Foundation says a daily dose of Aspirin could do more harm than good for those at low risk of stroke or heart disease.

The recommendations published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal say acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) should not be taken as a preventive measure for those who do not have a history of stroke, heart or vascular disease.

That’s a major shift from the decades-old practice calling for a daily, low dose of ASA, which in addition to Aspirin is also known by the brand names Entrophen and Novasen.

The Heart and Stroke writing group, chaired by McGill University neurologist Dr. Theodore Wein, developed the guideline after strong new research linked daily ASA doses to serious side effects such as internal bleeding.

Wein says the new recommendations only apply to those who have not had a stroke, heart condition or peripheral artery disease.

He says it is still “strongly recommended” that anyone with a history of stroke, or heart or vascular disease continue to take low-dose, daily ASA to prevent another event, if their doctor has prescribed the treatment.

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