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Aspirin "risks internal bleeding"

People who use aspirin to prevent heart attacks or other health problems may be taking risks with internal bleeding that outweigh the positives, researchers warn.

Previous studies have shown that taking aspirin could prevent another stroke or heart attack in those who have already suffered the conditions. It is thought millions of Britons take the medication as an insurance against health problems.

But a study earlier this year found that daily aspirin was more harmful than beneficial for people who had not already had a health problem.

And after carrying out a review of research, Dr Ike Iheanacho said in a medical journal editorial that people with no signs of cardiovascular disease (CVD) should not use the drug as a preventative measure because of the risk of internal bleeding in the stomach.

In the latest expert advice, Dr Iheanacho stressed that patients who have already had cardiovascular problems should continue to take aspirin if they have been prescribed the medication.

But the article, published in the Drug And Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB), calls on doctors to review giving aspirin to other people, such as diabetics and those with high pressure.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Drug And Therapeutics Bulletin