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Aspirin risks outweigh heart attack prevention benefits, experts warn

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Healthy people should not take aspirin to prevent a heart attack because the risks outweigh the potential benefits, studies have warned.

Several studies have concluded that aspirin can help to ward off a second heart attack or stroke in patients who have already had one.

After carrying out a review of research, Dr Ike Iheanacho said in a medical journal editorial that people with no signs of cardiovascular disease should not use the drug as a preventative measure because of the risk of internal bleeding of the stomach.

It follows a study by British scientists earlier this year which warned that daily aspirin could do more harm than good among people who have not already had a heart attack or stroke.

In the latest expert advice, Dr Iheanacho stressed that patients who have already had cardiovascular problems should continue to take aspirin if they have been prescribed the medication.

But the article, published in the Drug And Therapeutics Bulletin, calls on doctors to review giving aspirin to other patients, such as diabetics and those with high pressure.

June Davison, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, said: “It is well established that aspirin can help prevent heart attacks and strokes among people with heart and circulatory disease - so this group of people should continue to take aspirin as prescribed by their doctor.

“However, for those who do not have heart and circulatory disease the risk of serious bleeding outweighs the potential preventative benefits of taking aspirin.

“We advise people not to take aspirin daily, unless they check with their doctor.”

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