Q. My 70-year-old husband is taking two full-size aspirins a day to prevent heart problems. There are no heart problems in his family. He doesn’t believe me when I tell him this is too much. Your take?
A. Long-term aspirin use is NOT a do-it-yourself project. Despite the many benefits of aspirin, this drug can cause life-threatening bleeding ulcers. In older people, this can sometimes occur without warning symptoms.
This is a big dose and your husband must discuss it with his doctor. The most recent research in high-risk individuals (people who have had a stent placed) found that high-dose aspirin (more than 200 mg a day, which is less than one full-size 325 mg aspirin tablet) was associated with more complications but did not offer more benefit than low-dose aspirin at less than 200 mg daily (JACC. Cardiovascular Interventions, Dec. 2012). A so-called “baby” aspirin is 81 mg, but we believe that long-term use of even low-dose aspirin calls for medical supervision.
You can learn more about the pros and cons of aspirin in our free Guide to Key Aspirin Information.