Concerns raised over widespread use of aspirin in older adults

Despite updated guidelines advising against it, many older adults continue to use aspirin for heart disease prevention. Research shows that a significant number of adults over the age of 60 still take aspirin without medical advice, highlighting the need for better doctor-patient communication on this issue.

The findings underscore the urgent need for physicians to ask about aspirin use.

Despite guidelines against it, many elderly people continue to use aspirin for primary prevention. cardiovascular diseaseHighlighting the need for greater physician involvement in medication management.

A study involving nearly 150 million adults each year shows that many older adults continue to use aspirin for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD), despite guidelines from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association advising the opposite. The study authors emphasize the critical need for doctors to ask about aspirin use and to review its potential benefits and risks with elderly patients. These findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine,

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

Aspirin use drops amid new guidelines

Data showed that aspirin use declined from 2018 to 2019, as new evidence led the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association to recommend against aspirin therapy for primary prevention in older adults.

Still, even with this decline, about one-third of adults aged 60 years or older without CVD were using aspirin in 2021, and about 1 in 20 were using it without medical advice. Overall, 25.6 million adults in the U.S. reported aspirin use, with 18.5 million adults aged 60 years or older using aspirin in 2021. The findings suggest a need to reduce inappropriate aspirin use among older adults.

Reference: “Prevalence of aspirin use for cardiovascular disease prevention 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


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