More than 10 percent of patients inappropriately prescribed aspirin: study

Houston – Nearly 12 percent of U.S. adults are prescribed aspirin unnecessarily as part of an effort to prevent heart problems and stroke, according to a recent study from Baylor College of Medicine.

Researchers examined data of nearly 70,000 patients prescribed aspirin to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Inappropriate aspirin use (use among patients who had a 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease below 6 percent based on guidelines from the American Heart Association and other organizations) was identified in nearly 17 percent of women, compared with 5 percent among men. On average, patients who inappropriately received aspirin were 16 years younger than those who received aspirin appropriately.

Inappropriate aspirin use might be higher if patients are taking it over the counter, the researchers note.

Aspirin use has not been shown to prevent cardiovascular disease among low-risk patients. However, studies have linked its use to a higher risk of gastrointestinal bleeding and hemorrhagic strokes, and that risk outweighs any possible benefits of preventing hardening of arteries, according to a press release.

The research was published online Jan. 12 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.