Going against years of widely dispensed advice, the FDA warned the public in a statement yesterday that most people shouldn't take aspirin to prevent heart attacks, Bloomberg reports.
risk of stomach and brain bleeds
In the statement, the FDA explained that ingesting aspirin on a regular basis isn't recommended to people who have never experienced a cardiovascular event because the drug raises a person's risk of experiencing stomach and brain bleeds. Even people who are at high risk for cardiovascular disease, but haven't experienced any symptoms yet, should refrain from taking the drug as a preventative measure. In short, the benefits of the drug only outweigh the risks in cases where people have already experienced a stroke or a heart attack.
The announcement was prompted by the FDA's decision last week to block pharmaceutical company Bayer AG from changing the drug's labeling. The proposed changes would have allowed the company to market aspirin as a heart attack prevention drug for people who don't have heart problems. Following the decision, Bayer spokesperson Anne Coiley reminded Bloomberg in an email that "the ruling does not impact the numerous cardiovascular indications for which aspirin is already approved by the FDA."