Thursday 18 January 2018

U-turn on aspirin as 'new drugs far better'

Laura Donnelly

MORE than a million people with a common heart condition have been told not to take aspirin to guard against stroke, in a reversal of previous advice.

New medical recommendations from the NHS in Britain warn that the pills are ineffective in reducing the danger for those suffering heart rhythm disorders – and that the risk of side-effects outweighs their benefits.

Up to 7,000 strokes and 2,000 premature deaths a year could be prevented if patients were put on new drugs instead, experts have said.

Until now, adults suffering from atrial fibrillation have been advised to take a daily dose of aspirin – a blood-thinning drug – as the heart condition often causes clots, leading to a risk of stroke five times higher than normal.

But revised guidance from the British National Institute of Health and Care says that a new generation of drugs is far better than aspirin at reducing the danger for such patients and is less likely to cause side-effects including internal bleeding.

Patients are advised to seek advice from their GP before stopping their current medication, but the guidance recommends that anticoagulant drugs which prevent clots forming should be prescribed instead.

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