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Why Staying on Daily Low Dose Aspirin Is Important

Why Staying on Daily Low Dose Aspirin Is Important

Stopping prematurely can lead to serious health complications.

In one episode of Rugrats, Angelica tries to kick her cookie addiction. But when she finds a stash of them, the gang chases her (and the cookie jar) into the laundry room, where the cookies go flying into a tub of soapy water. Angelica eats them anyway. Suddenly, she feels sick and begins burping bubbles. “Never let me eat cookies again,” she pleads.

Withdrawal is hard, but luckily there’s one drug you don’t need to, and probably shouldn’t, try to quit: Aspirin.

Have you and your doc decided you should be taking a low-dose aspirin once or twice a day to lower your risk of heart attack, stroke or colorectal cancer? Well, a new study in the journal Circulation reinforces several other studies we mentioned in our book YOU: Staying Young, The Owner’s Manual For Extending Your Warranty: Stopping your daily aspirin regimen, either for surgery or because you just forget for a few days, can have serious consequences.

Looking at data on more than 600,000 people who were taking a daily low-dose aspirin, researchers found those who had any gaps in treatment boosted their risk of a cardiovascular event by over 30 percent. One theory: If you stop taking aspirin, there’s a rebound effect and your body produces more thromboxane, a hormone that promotes clotting and artery constriction.

So, if you’re thinking of stopping aspirin therapy, talk to your doctor to make sure you’re either on another med that prevents clotting or that the benefits of stopping clearly outweigh the risks.

Medically reviewed in January 2020.

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