Rethinking low-dose aspirin

New studies shed light on the role of aspirin for people without a previous heart attack or stroke.


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It costs just pennies per pill, doesn't require a prescription, and may be lifesaving for some people. But daily low-dose aspirin doesn't make sense for everyone. Now, three major studies that examined the benefits and risks of this widely used drug may alter the advice about who should take aspirin.

"Aspirin remains a cornerstone of treatment after a heart attack or stroke. But the question of whether people with a low to moderate risk of heart disease should take aspirin is a really important one," says Dr. Christopher Cannon, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. Tens of millions of people in the United States fall into that low-to-moderate-risk category. But until now, there weren't many large trials that included those people, he notes.

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