Daily low-dose aspirin for heart attack or stroke no longer recommended for older adults

New guidelines from the American Heart Association are recommending most older adults no longer take a low-dose aspirin every day to prevent a heart attack or stroke.

Following years of suggesting adults could benefit from a daily 75- to 100-milligram dose of aspirin to help fight cardiovascular problems, the AHA along with the America College of Cardiology released the findings of a clinical trial that found aspirin did not prolong life in elderly adults who do not have the highest risks of heart disease.

The findings suggest not only was aspirin not as effective as thought but that it could possibly lead to major bleeding in the elderly.

"Clinicians should be very selective in prescribing aspirin for people without known cardiovascular disease," according to a statement from Dr. Roger Blumenthal, co-chair of the 2019 ACC/AHA Guideline on the Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease, and professor of cardiology at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

"It's much more important to optimize lifestyle habits and control blood pressure and cholesterol as opposed to recommending aspirin," Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal said that "Aspirin should be limited to people at the highest risk of cardiovascular disease and a very low risk of bleeding."

The guidelines also pointed out that those who have had a heart attack or stroke could still use aspirin to prevent another cardiovascular event.

"Ultimately, we must individualize treatment for each patient, based on their individual situation," North Carolina cardiologist Dr. Kevin Campbell, told CNN.

Campbell wasn't involved in the new guidelines.

A new study shows a daily aspirin can be dangerous for older adults who are not at the greatest risk for heart disease.  (Photo Illustration by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)

icon to expand image