Doctor warns heart patients of frequent aspirin use
New Delhi: While there is a raging debate on the role of aspirin in preventing heart attacks, a leading cardiologist has cautioned against people starting the pill therapy on their own.
“The best way to know if you are a candidate for aspirin therapy is to ask your doctor. You should not start aspirin on your own,” says Prof Upendra Kaul, Executive Director and Dean, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre.
Earlier studies had established aspirin’s efficacy as an anti-clotting agent leading to its widespread use as a preventive treatment for heart attacks.
However, recent studies showed that aspirin users were about 30 per cent more likely to have a serious gastrointestinal bleeding event, a side-effect of frequent aspirin use.
Though some previous studies suggested that regular aspirin use could prevent cancer, the new analysis showed no such benefit.
“You should not start aspirin therapy without first consulting your physician. The risks and benefits of aspirin therapy vary from person to person,” says Kaul.
Although taking an occasional aspirin or two was safe for most adults as a treatment for headaches, body aches or fever, daily use of aspirin can have serious side effects, including internal bleeding, he says.
Taking aspirin is not advised during a brain stroke, because not all strokes are caused by blood clots.
“Most strokes are caused by clots, but some are caused by ruptured vessels. Taking aspirin could potentially make these bleeding strokes more severe,” Kaul says.
At present, aspirin is recommended for preventing a heart attack when a person already has had a heart attack or stroke.