Survey shows aspirin use remains high among older adults, despite risks

June 28, 2024
Findings highlight urgent needs for physicians to inquire about aspirin use.

A survey representing about 150 million adults annually suggests that aspirin use for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains prevalent among older adults, contrary to recommendations from the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association.  

According to the study authors, these findings highlight the urgent need for physicians to inquire about aspirin use and discuss the benefits and risks with older patients. The findings are published in Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers from Cleveland Clinic studied data from the National Health Interview Survey Sample Adult component (2012–2019 and 2021) to characterize trends in prevalence of aspirin use for CVD prevention. Participants aged 40 years or older were asked to report aspirin use and were stratified by age group and CVD status based on self-reported history of stroke, myocardial infarction, coronary artery disease, or angina. The data showed that aspirin use declined from 2018 to 2019 after new evidence prompted the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association to recommend against aspirin therapy for primary prevention in older adults. Still, even after this decline, nearly a third of adults aged 60 or older without CVD were still using aspirin in 2021, and nearly 1 in 20 were using it without medical advice. Overall, 25.6 million adults reported aspirin use in the U.S, with 18.5 million adults aged 60 years or older using aspirin in 2021. The findings suggest a need to reduce inappropriate use of aspirin among older adults.

American College of Physicians release on Newswise