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April 16th, 2009
08:00 AM ET

Who should take a daily aspirin?

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta answers your questions.

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta answers your questions.

Asked by Sharon, Mays Landing, New Jersey:

“My husband’s doctor told him to take an aspirin a day. Should I be taking one too?”

Answer:

Thanks for the question Sharon. Aspirin is a medication we often get questions about, probably because an estimated one-third of Americans take it every day. The popular pain reliever is easily accessible, inexpensive, and available at your local pharmacy. It is commonly used to treat arthritis, headaches and fever among other minor pains. But what is often confusing is whether taking it every day can help prevent ailments– a heart attack or stroke.

Most daily users were most likely prescribed aspirin to lower their risk of cardiovascular disease. But it is important to note that not all people will benefit from this treatment, and in some cases, it can be dangerous.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force is a group of independent health experts who review effectiveness and offer usage guidelines for medical treatments and drugs. Last month, the USPSTF updated its 2002 recommendations of who could benefit from a daily aspirin regime.

Keep reading this story


Filed under: Dr. Gupta's Mailbag
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Sabina

    Hi Dr. Gupta, my husband recently had two heart attacks, the doctors put in a stent and he is now on meds Plavix for one year and adult aspirin for 3 months and then reduced to a baby aspirin. I recently say an add on CNN that the combination of Plavix and aspirin is dangerous. Is this true?

    October 24, 2009 at 11:20 am |
  2. linda

    I doctor recommended ASA many years ago. I does wonders for me.
    Thanks for the advice

    May 15, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  3. Jamaica

    Sorry for adding one more comment:

    Paco – did you read the ENTIRE article?

    Click on "keep reading this story" above.
    There is more information.

    May 7, 2009 at 1:20 pm |
  4. Jamaica

    You can't run with medical advice from a message board alone.
    That would make one a foolish consumer.

    One other thought to bring it home:

    Price the aspirin. price the cost of sustained exercise.
    Then price the cost of Plavix & Lipitor.

    And compare the problems & side effects.

    May 7, 2009 at 1:14 pm |
  5. paco

    how in some cases can aspirin be dangerous? you never responded with an answer

    May 7, 2009 at 12:44 pm |
  6. Jamaica

    The caution about who can take aspirin is very vague & general.
    It needs to be addressed in rare cases. Doesn't matter to most people, but its a good idea to ask your doctor.

    You should not take it simultaneously with Ibuprofen, Naproxen etc because those reduce the efficacy of aspirin (per last study I heard anyway). So wait an hour in between.

    Aspirin doesn't guarantee no heart attack or stroke.
    Aspirin doesn't excuse lousy diet & other bad health practices.

    Look at the cost-benefit ratio:
    You cannot FIX any or all damage after a stroke or cardiac event.
    You do NOT get a "do over."

    People go nuts with all these higher priced additives like St John's Wort & Gingko & Ginseng – on very scant evident.
    They'll take some obscure herb because someone told them a wizen old Chinese doctor in the hills recommended it.

    But aspirin gets overlooked as too modern. No mystery.
    Just scientific evidence that it works. AND its cheap.

    May 7, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  7. JANE

    Worked as hairdresser for over 40 years. We knew friends of patrons, doctors of patrons, nurses, whole network. And, the bottom results from 1000's of people and thier experiences is always take one aspirin a day. Why have it prescribed after a heart attack, when one aspirin could have prevented the first one?
    Only people who should not take it is people suffering from ulcers, or taking blood thinners or bleeding somewhere, or pregnant.
    I just read that old time ancient treatment used to use spider webs for stopping bleeding, because they are composed of high Vitamin K.

    April 20, 2009 at 9:00 pm |
  8. Steve

    325 mg aspirin & Plavix was my cardiologist-recommended regimen after my heart attack in early 2006. I was 57 back then; my regular internist said (for more than 20 years!) I was doing great with BP 140/90 & total cholesterol around 140.

    Two stents later I went with my cardio's advice but that much aspirin with the Plavix & I was bruising really bad so the cardio guy said cut it back to 81 mg a day last fall & the bruising reduced by 90% in two days' time.

    Aspirin – indeed any medication – can do more harm than good. You need to consider yourself first and foremost! Ask your doctor, then follow their advice. Every body's different! No one should take someone else's experience to heart (pun intended!) without questions.

    April 20, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  9. WIL HENLEY

    Wait until you'ver been lucky enought to survive three or four bouts of
    mini strokes and you'll take aspirin no matter if you believe or not. My dailey routine includes 1 full aspirin coated and the next day a PLavix but too much Plavix will cause you start wit gigantic bruises so I reduced to 1 every second or third day with 1/2 aspirin every day.. Not 81 mg but a full half of a 325 mg. I cant take the chance. Ive been doing it now for a year or longer and so far Ive been OK......I keep hoping..... It can be scary.....,....

    April 16, 2009 at 9:43 pm |
  10. Fred Robinson

    Dr. Gupta:

    Always follow your doctor's advice. I will endeavour to do so.

    Thanks,
    Fred

    April 16, 2009 at 10:47 am |