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Docs May Miss Out on Recommending Aspirin Therapy

Lack of time, uncertainty about benefits among potential reasons why, expert says

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Aug. 8, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Many Americans who might benefit from taking low-dose aspirin every day to prevent heart attack and stroke say they've never been told by their doctors to do so, a new study shows.

The findings highlight the fact that many doctors may not follow U.S. Preventive Services Task Force guidelines that recommend aspirin as prevention therapy, according to the University of Rochester researchers.

They analyzed data from nearly 3,500 middle-aged Americans who didn't have heart disease, but qualified for aspirin therapy based on their scores for heart disease risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, smoking and use of cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Of those people, 34 percent of men and 42 percent of women said their doctors or other health care providers had never told them to take low-dose aspirin each day to prevent heart attack, stroke or cancer.

The findings were published online Aug. 5 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

There a number of reasons why doctors may not recommend aspirin therapy to patients, including competing demands, lack of time to properly assess a patient's eligibility for the therapy and uncertainty about the benefits of the therapy compared to potential problems such as digestive tract bleeding, according to study author Dr. Kevin Fiscella, a professor of family medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

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