Aspirin can help those who have previously suffered a cardiac illness
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Aspirin fails to reduce the risk of a first heart attack or stroke but can help those who have previously suffered a cardiac illness, new research reveals.
The painkiller significantly reduces the risk of having another heart attack or stroke if you have suffered one in the past, the study found.
Yet, people still have a 10.7 percent risk of having a cardiac-related event if they take aspirin and have never had an incident before, the research adds.
The risk is similar at 10.5 percent among non-aspirin takers.
Researchers believe it is important to identify patients who will not benefit from aspirin due to its potential side effects, such as bleeding in the gut and brain.
Aspirin does not reduce your heart attack or stroke risk unless you have suffered before. (Source: Internet)
Study author Dr Anthony Bavry from the University of Florida, said: 'There are many individuals who may not be deriving a benefit from aspirin. If we can identify those patients and spare them from aspirin, we're doing a good thing.'
How the study was carried out
Researchers from Florida University analysed more than 33,000 patients aged 45 or older with hard, narrow arteries, known as atherosclerosis.
More than 21,000 of the study's participants had previously suffered a heart attack or stroke.
Data was collected between 2003 and 2009.
Results, published in the journal Clinical Cardiology, revealed that aspirin significantly reduces the risk of having another heart attack or stroke among those who have already suffered such an event.
Yet, the drug has no impact on a person's heart attack or stroke risk if they have never suffered an event before.
Taking aspirin without a personal history of a heart attack or stroke gives you a 10.7 percent risk of suffering such an incident.
While non-aspirin users who have also never had a heart attack or stroke have a 10.5 percent risk.
It is unclear why aspirin only benefits certain patients.
Dr Bavry said: 'Aspirin therapy is widely used and embraced by cardiologists and general practitioners around the world.
'This takes a bit of the luster off the use of aspirin.'
Researchers added that understanding aspirin's suitability for heart disease patients is important as the drug carries risks of bleeding in the gut and, less commonly, the brain.
Dr Bavry added: 'The cardiology community needs to appreciate that aspirin deserves ongoing study.
'There are many individuals who may not be deriving a benefit from aspirin. If we can identify those patients and spare them from aspirin, we're doing a good thing.'