FDA’s New Position on Daily ‘Baby Aspirin’
Growing up I heard repeatedly the importance of taking a low-dose daily aspirin (i.e. baby aspirin) to prevent heart attack. If you grew up with the same story, the FDA’s 2014 change of position might come as a surprise, if you haven’t already heard it. In their Consumer Update, they wrote:
“…, [A]fter carefully examining scientific data from major studies, FDA has concluded that the data do not support the use of aspirin as a preventive medication by people who have not had a heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular problems, a use that is called ‘primary prevention.’ In such people, the benefit has not been established but risks—such as dangerous bleeding into the brain or stomach—are still present.”
Special concern applies to anyone already taking other blood thinners, such as warfarin, dabigatran (Pradaxa), rivaroxaban (Xarelto) and apixiban (Eliquis).
Should everyone avoid taking baby aspirin?
In short, no. Dr. Robert Temple, deputy director for clinical science at the FDA at the time emphasizes, “Since the 1990s, clinical data have shown that in people who have experienced a heart attack, stroke or who have a disease of the blood vessels in the heart, a daily low dose of aspirin can help prevent a reoccurrence.” How do you know which is appropriate for you? Talk to your primary care physician.
What are my alternatives?
The common denominators are always proper diet and establishing healthy eating habits, exercise, maintain a healthy blood pressure, quit smoking if you haven’t already, and stress reduction. Did you know acupuncture can help with almost all these efforts? To learn more, consider reading, “Give Your Cardiovascular Health a Boost with Acupuncture.” Additionally, establishing a daily meditation routine can do wonders. Not convinced? Consider a 2012 study, that found “African Americans with heart disease who practiced Transcendental Meditation regularly [twice daily for 20 minutes] were 48 percent less likely to have a heart attack, stroke or die from all causes compared with African Americans who attended a health education class over more than five years.” I’d say that sounds worth it. Would you?