The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recently changed its guidance on aspirin use, stating that most adults do not need to take aspirin to prevent first heart attacks or strokes. This change to a long-standing recommendation is based on new evidence that the potential harms of aspirin—including major bleeding— cancel out the benefits. Here’s an overview of the new guidance:
- Adults ages 40 to 59 who are at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease but don’t have a history of it should decide with their health care provider whether to start taking aspirin.
- Adults 60 years and older shouldn’t start taking aspirin to prevent heart disease and stroke.
- Adults who are already taking aspirin for a previous heart attack or stroke should continue to do so unless told otherwise by their clinician.
Talk to your doctor if you have questions about taking aspirin.