A British meta-analysis of aspirin users suggests that this common preventive medicine may carry significant risks along with modest benefit. Investigators analyzed nine randomized, placebo-controlled studies that included more than 100,000 healthy volunteers. Although those taking aspirin were 20 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack, they were 30 percent more likely to experience a bleeding ulcer. Men who are at high risk for a second heart attack get significant benefit from taking aspirin, but researchers are beginning to question the trade off between heart protection and gastrointestinal hemorrhage for otherwise healthy people. People should only be taking daily aspirin under medical supervision.
[Archives of Internal Medicine, online, Jan. 9, 2012]