Alarm Raised Over Widespread Aspirin Use in Older Adults

Despite updated recommendations against it, many older adults continue to use aspirin to prevent cardiovascular disease. Research indicates that a significant number of adults over the age of 60 continue to take aspirin without medical advice, highlighting the need for better communication between physicians and patients on this issue.

These results underscore the urgency for physicians to educate themselves about aspirin use.

Despite guidelines against it, many older adults continue to use aspirin for primary prevention

heart disease
Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are a group of disorders affecting the heart and blood vessels, including coronary heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure. These diseases are primarily caused by atherosclerosis, a process in which plaque builds up in the artery walls, leading to narrowing or blockage of the arteries. Risk factors include smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise, obesity, and genetic predisposition. CVD remains a leading cause of death worldwide, highlighting the importance of lifestyle changes, medical interventions, and preventative measures to manage and reduce the risk of heart disease.

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A study of about 150 million adults each year indicates that many older adults continue to use aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD), despite recommendations from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association to discourage it. The study authors emphasize the critical need for physicians to ask questions about aspirin use and discuss its potential benefits and risks with older patients. The findings were published in the journal Annals of internal medicine.

Researchers from the Cleveland Clinic studied data from the National Health Interview Survey adult sample (2012–2019 and 2021) to characterize trends in the prevalence of aspirin use for cardiovascular disease prevention. Participants aged 40 years or older were asked to report their aspirin use and were stratified by age group and cardiovascular disease status based on self-reported history of stroke, myocardial infarction, coronary heart disease, or angina.

Aspirin use down due to new guidelines

The data showed that aspirin use declined from 2018 to 2019 after new evidence prompted the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association to recommend against aspirin treatment for primary prevention in older adults.

Despite this decline, nearly one-third of adults aged 60 or older without cardiovascular disease were still taking aspirin in 2021, and nearly one in 20 were using it without medical advice. A total of 25.6 million adults reported taking aspirin in the United States, including 18.5 million adults aged 60 or older who took it in 2021. These findings suggest a need to reduce inappropriate aspirin use among older adults.

Reference: “Prevalence of Aspirin Use for Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Among US Adults from 2012 to 2021” by Mohak Gupta, Snigdha Gulati, Khurram Nasir, and Ashish Sarraju, June 25, 2024, Annals of internal medicine.
DOI: 10.7326/M24-0427

News Source :
Gn Health

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