Federal task force narrows aspirin use guidelines, suggests cancer benefit
- According to new guidelines from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), low-dose aspirin use in a target group of 50- to 59-year-olds can help prevent heart attacks and stroke, while also reducing colon cancer risk.
- The proposal is more narrow than previous aspirin use guidelines. Earlier guidelines included a broader range of ages, and gender-stratified recommendations.
- The changes reflect the inclusion of four new clinical trials into the evidence base that determines the guidelines. The colon cancer component benefit is also new.
The new USPTF guidelines are geared towards individuals who are expected to live an additional 10 years, and who have at least a 10% or greater risk of heart attack or stroke during that 10-year period. The underlying algorithm that the USPTF used to create the guidelines is based on the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology calculator.
The task force said that it did not have enough data to provide definitive guidelines for individuals under 50 and over 70. And although aspirin does not carry an FDA-approved label attesting to its ability to reduce heart attack and stroke risk, the new guidelines reflect the utility of aspirin use in a select group of at-risk people.