Baby Aspirin May Be Best for Heart

Higher Aspirin Doses Show No Extra Heart Benefit; Stomach Bleeding May Be More Likely, Review Shows

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on May 08, 2007

May 8, 2007 -- Baby aspirin may be the best aspirin dose for heart health, according to a new research review.

A single pill of baby aspirin contains 81 milligrams of aspirin. That's about a quarter of the 325-milligram dose in an adult aspirin pill.

The new research review states that in the U.S., the most commonly prescribed aspirin dose for heart health is 81 milligrams per day.

The review shows that aspirin doses greater than 81 milligrams per day haven't been proven better than baby aspirin for the heart and may increase the chances of stomach bleeding.

The doctors who worked on the review included Charles Campbell, MD, of the University of Kentucky's Gill Heart Institute.

They analyzed data from 11 studies on aspirin and heart disease.

The studies, conducted from 1989 to 2004, included more than 40,000 patients taking daily aspirin doses ranging from 30 milligrams to 1,300 milligrams. Most of the patients already had heart disease.

The studies' designs and lengths varied, ranging from in-hospital treatment of heart attack patients to a four-year study of people who had survived minor strokes.

"While aspirin is an effective drug for the prevention of clots, the downside of aspirin therapy is an increased tendency for bleeding, particularly from the gastrointestinal tract," Campbell says in a University of Kentucky news release.

"We believe the minimum effective dose should be used," Campbell says.

However, Campbell and colleagues note that more research is needed to see if certain groups of people would benefit from higher aspirin doses.

The review appears in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

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SOURCES: Campbell, C. The Journal of the American Medical Association, May 9, 2007; vol 297: pp 2018-2024. News release, University of Kentucky.

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