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Why US Expert Panel Is Now Recommending Against Taking Aspirin For Preventing Heart Attacks

A U.S. expert panel is now recommending against older adults taking low-dose aspirin daily to prevent heart attack.

What Happened: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force said in a draft recommendation statement on Tuesday that initiating aspirin use for the primary prevention of a first heart attack or stroke in adults aged 60 years or older has no net benefit.

The panel noted that aspirin use by older adults increases the risk of potentially life-threatening internal bleeding and outweighs the benefits.

There may be a “small net benefit” for adults aged 40 to 59 years who take aspirin for the primary prevention of heart disease, the task force added.

The updated guidance also says evidence was inadequate to say that low-dose aspirin reduces the occurrence or death due to colorectal cancer.

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Why It Matters: Aspirin is a medication used to reduce pain, fever or inflammation. It also helps to prevent blood clots as it is a blood thinner but carries the risk of internal bleeding.

It was reported in September that Johnson & Johnson’s (NYSE: JNJ) anticoagulant medication Xarelto (rivaroxaban) in an oral suspension formulation was associated with fewer blood clots than aspirin in pediatric patients, based on new data from the Phase 3 UNIVERSE study.

The task force’s latest recommendation will replace its own previous recommendation in 2016 that low-dose aspirin use may help to prevent a first heart attack or stroke as well as help protect against colorectal cancer.

The new recommendation does not include patients who have already suffered a heart attack or stroke and continue to take low-dose aspirin daily to prevent a subsequent cardiovascular event.

Price Action: Johnson & Johnson shares closed 1.6% lower in Tuesday’s regular trading session at $157.69.

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