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Do You Take an Aspirin a Day?

On May 2nd, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a report regarding the use of daily aspirin to prevent a heart attack and stroke. The FDA’s findings may drastically alter how the health care industry utilizes daily aspirin therapy.

Background: A number of patients take a daily aspirin due to the belief that it reduces their risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

“Primary Prevention” – Refers to patients with diabetes, family history of heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol who have an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke and use aspirin as prevention (before either of these events occur).

“Secondary Prevention” – Refers to the use of daily aspirin therapy for patients who have had a heart attack, stroke, or having known coronary artery disease. Secondary prevention use of aspirin has well established benefits and significantly reduces the chance of a second heart attack or stroke.

The Update: The FDA has reviewed new data regarding aspirin use for primary prevention and concluded that there is insufficient evidence at this time to support routine use of daily aspirin therapy in these patients.

What does this mean for you?  If you have not had a heart attack, stroke, or have known coronary heart disease and you take a daily aspirin, talk to your physician about the need for continued use of aspirin and weigh the risk versus benefit of prolonged aspirin therapy.

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