A better understanding of the side effects of taking a daily dose of aspirin is needed. This is the verdict of scientists who have carried out a comprehensive review of the benefits and risks of taking the drug as a preventative measure.
Taking a daily dose of aspirin has been promoted for people who are at risk of developing cardiovascular disease or colorectal cancer to help to prevent these diseases. However, the benefit of taking aspirin must be balanced against a better understanding of the potentially harmful side effects such as bleeding and gastrointestinal problems, researchers at Warwick University Medical School have warned.
In a paper published by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA) Programme, a wealth of available scientific evidence was reviewed that allowed the team from Warwick Evidence to quantify relative benefits and risks.
Professor Aileen Clarke, Director of Warwick Evidence at Warwick Medical School said, “This study looks deeper into the range of research on regular aspirin use than anything before, using more innovative methods, and it makes it clear that there is an incredibly fine balance between the possible benefits and risks of the intervention. We need to be extremely careful about over-promoting aspirin intervention without having first fully understood these negative side effects.
“There are a number of on-going trials that will be completed in the coming six years which may help to clarify this further, including the impact of different dose regimens.”