FDA Warns of Some Daily Usage of Aspirin

Created: 05/06/2014 6:51 PM
By: Steph Crock

(ABC 6 News) -- For many years people have been taking an aspirin a day to improve their health, but now traditional thinking is being challenged by new findings.

Heart disease and stroke affects tens of millions of people and a daily aspirin is taken by many who hope to prevent, or reduce the possibility of a heart attack or stroke. However, new recommendations by the FDA say for many of those people, an aspirin could prove to be very dangerous.

"I learned my heart concerns in May of '89, I was having chest pains," said Nick Voornas. Twelve weeks later, he went under 4 way bypass surgery and was advised to take aspirin every day to prevent another health scare. "I've been doing well ever since and I’ve been taking 325 milligrams of aspirin every day since," said Voornas.

He says he's been healthy now for more than 20 years and believes, in part, because of aspirin. Though, the FDA is now saying some people shouldn’t pop an aspirin every day. "What the FDA is trying to steer people clear of is to take an aspirin on a daily basis when they've had no heart attack or a stroke previously," said Pharmacist Gary Pundt at GuidePoint Pharmacy.

They're saying for cases like Voornas, it’s ok, but the FDA now say aspirin shouldn't be used to prevent heart attacks for people who've never had cardio vascular problems. "What the FDA found is that, if the evidence to prevent that first heart attack isn't there, an aspirin can cause internal bleeding," said Dr. Richard Besser, ABC News’ Chief Medical Editor.

"Primarily they're concerned about bleeding that may occur in the stomach, or the esophagus, or also in the brain," said Pundt.

As with just about any daily regimen, asking your doctor first is a must. “For patients that are taking aspirin on a daily basis without consulting a doctor, they’re actually potentially doing harm to themselves," said Pundt.

"You have to start at your doctor because he's the one who will lay the groundwork out for you,” said Voornas. If you have proven cardiovascular concerns, like Voornas, taking aspirin may be just what you need. “I can only assume so because I'm standing her talking to you now,” said Voornas.

These FDA findings are in regards to all daily use of aspirin, including baby aspirin. If you want to know more, you can read the FDA article here. 

Photo: ABC 6 News