Does an aspirin a day actually keep a heart attack away? Is it possible to take too much aspirin? Will I develop any complications if I take aspirin on a daily basis?
These are just some of the questions that patients ask Dr. Smith about aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) therapy.
In its early years, aspirin was viewed solely as an across-the-board pain reliever. But then it was discovered that it could also thin the blood: keeping platelets from sticking together and forming heart-attack inducing clots.
Suddenly everyone was jumping on the aspirin bandwagon, taking “preventive” doses whether they needed them or not. A massive media campaign further fueled this aspirin-popping frenzy.
Then some researchers began to wonder aloud if this was really such a good idea after all.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sounded a cautionary note in 2003, when its Center for Drug Evaluation and Research launched a public education campaign to remind consumers that aspirin is not without risk (FDA Consum 2003;37:36.)
Because the benefits of aspirin therapy are less than conclusive — and the practice has worrisome side effects — Dr. Smith urges patients to reconsider reliance on aspirin and other “elective” drugs in favour of all-natural methods of prevention.