Over 60? Here’s Why You Should Not Take a Daily Aspirin

by Barbara Hadden

Adults who are 60 or older should not take an aspirin every day in hopes of reducing their risk of a heart attack or stroke, according to new recommendations from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.

The task force concluded with “moderate certainty” that starting a daily low-dose aspirin regimen in those age 60 and older has no net benefit. Taking an aspirin each day can raise your risk of potentially fatal bleeding in your stomach, intestines or brain. The risk of such bleeding generally rises with age, regardless of whether you take aspirin, but using the drug can elevate the risk, according to a statement issued with the recommendations.

According to the task force:

“Certain medications, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroids, and anticoagulants, increase the risk of bleeding. These risk factors should be considered in the overall decision about whether to start or continue aspirin therapy.”

The task force also recommends that people who are between the ages of 40 and 59 and at elevated risk of cardiovascular disease — pegged at having a 10% or greater 10-year risk of developing the condition — should talk to their doctor about whether it is wise to take aspirin daily.

While the task force concluded with moderate certainty that a daily aspirin has a net benefit for people in this demographic, the impact appears to be small.

If you already have been taking a daily aspirin, the task force notes that if you have not had a bleeding event, the benefits of such a regimen “continue to accrue over time.” However, the benefits are likely to become smaller as your risk of bleeding increases with age.

Thus, the task force recommends stopping daily aspirin use around the age of 75.

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