Heart Health

Stopping unneeded aspirin may prevent dangerous bleeding

Research we're watching

By , Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

Many people who take the clot-preventing drug warfarin (Coumadin) may also take aspirin, despite not having a clear reason to do so. A new study suggests that if doctors identify these people and take them off aspirin, it may prevent dangerous bleeding.

The study included more than 6,700 people who were taking warfarin to treat blood clots in the veins (venous thromboembolism) or prevent clots from atrial fibrillation, along with low-dose aspirin. Researchers then asked the participants’ primary care doctors to review whether their patients had a specific reason for taking aspirin and if not, to discuss stopping it. Aspirin raises the risk of bleeding, especially when taken with warfarin. So current guidelines recommend low-dose aspirin for only certain people — mainly those who’ve already had a heart attack.

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About the Author

photo of Julie Corliss

Julie Corliss, Executive Editor, Harvard Heart Letter

Julie Corliss is the executive editor of the Harvard Heart Letter. Before working at Harvard, she was a medical writer and editor at HealthNews, a consumer newsletter affiliated with The New England Journal of Medicine. She … See Full Bio
View all posts by Julie Corliss

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