Daily Aspirin Therapy: Uses and Risks You Should Know
Daily aspirin therapy is a potentially beneficial way to reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. However, it isn’t advisable for everyone, as, in some cases, it does more harm than good.
Generally speaking, this treatment should ideally be prescribed by a physician. Although taking one of these pills occasionally is usually safe, the truth is that when taken every day it can cause undesirable effects.
In itself, the aim of the therapy is to prevent the formation of clots in the heart or brain, especially in people with a predisposition. When followed unnecessarily, it can lead to bleeding and other complications. Are you interested in learning more about this?
What is daily aspirin therapy?
Daily aspirin therapy is a treatment prescribed to people who are at risk of blood clots. The indicated dose is low; it ranges from 81 to 325 milligrams. It always takes into account the condition, the person’s health status, and other medications being taken.
This drug has the ability to interfere with blood clotting. Sometimes, there are accumulations of fat in the arteries that can lead to clots. If this occurs, normal blood flow is stopped and, as a result, a heart attack or stroke can be triggered.
This therapy is intended to reduce such risks. In itself, it can be implemented in two ways.
- Primary prevention. When there’s no history of heart problems or strokes. There are controversies regarding this use.
- Secondary prevention. If there’s a history of heart problems or stroke. There is consensus on the benefits of this use.
In which cases is it recommended?
Daily aspirin therapy must be prescribed by a doctor. Regular use of this drug can cause serious side effects, even though it’s available over-the-counter. Therefore, it’s necessary for the doctor to weigh the risks and benefits of this treatment.
In general terms, this type of therapy is recommended in the following cases:
- People between 40 and 59 years of age with a risk of more than 10% of suffering a heart attack in the next 10 years.
- Patients who have had coronary artery bypass surgery.
- People who have had a coronary artery stent fitted.
- People who have symptoms of coronary artery disease or other heart diseases which aspirin use may be helpful for.
- People under 60 years of age who have diabetes and at least one other risk factor, such as hypertension or smoking.
- Patients with a history of heart attacks or strokes, without allergies or a history of bleeding.
In general, this treatment is considered most effective in people between the ages of 50 and 59 with a history of heart problems. It’s also used as a preventive method for people between the ages of 50 and 70 with a low risk of internal bleeding.
Healthy people under 50 and over 70 shouldn’t use this treatment.
Possible risks and side effects
The use of daily aspirin therapy in healthy people poses more risks than benefits. The American College of Cardiology published an article advising against this treatment in low-risk people.
Those with a bleeding or clotting disorder shouldn’t take this treatment. Nor should those with bleeding stomach ulcers or a history of intestinal bleeding. For obvious reasons, those with an allergy to aspirin should also abstain.
Possible side effects or complications include the following:
- Stroke. Daily aspirin therapy may increase the risk of a stroke due to bleeding (hemorrhagic stroke).
- Gastrointestinal bleeding. Daily aspirin use increases the risk of a stomach ulcer. If a stomach ulcer is already present, the drug can increase bleeding and be life-threatening.
- Ear problems. High or frequent doses of this drug sometimes cause tinnitus or even hearing loss.
- Allergic reactions. Serious, life-threatening reactions can occur in people who are allergic to the drug.
Possible interactions of daily aspirin therapy
Another aspect to consider in daily aspirin therapy is the interaction it may have with other medications. In particular, the use of this drug together with other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may increase the risk of bleeding.
If a person has to take a single dose of NSAIDs per day, this should be done eight hours before taking aspirin, or half an hour after. If the dose is higher, or if you are taking other medications, you should tell your doctor.
On the other hand, you should be very careful when combining aspirin with anticoagulant drugs. It is also possible that there may be an interaction with other drugs such as corticosteroids, clopidogrel, and some antidepressants. A professional consultation is always necessary.
Tips and recommendations
Alcohol also has an anticoagulant effect, so it isn’t recommended while on daily aspirin therapy. It’s important to discuss this with your doctor to know how much can be ingested without putting yourself at risk.
However, this treatment should not be stopped suddenly. This could produce a rebound effect and increase the possibility of a heart attack or stroke. Completion of treatment should be physician-directed.
If a person is unwilling or unable to increase this therapy, but is an at-risk patient, he or she can talk to his or her physician about the possibility of statin therapy. A 2016 study notes that these drugs are a good option in such cases.
A person who is on daily aspirin therapy should inform the expert before continuing with a dental procedure or surgery. Otherwise, there’s a risk of excessive bleeding or hemorrhage.
Whatever the case, it’s best to take this medication as an enteric-coated drug. It’s designed to dissolve only when it reaches the small intestine. This may reduce the risk of stomach problems, although there’s no evidence to confirm this.It might interest you...