Is aspirin safe for regular use?

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Aspirin therapy already has a well-established association with heart health. Many people take a low-dose aspirin every day, as recommended by their doctors, to lower their risk for heart attack or stroke, or if they have been diagnosed with heart disease and pose a high risk for either event. Although the anticipated benefit is a lower chance of vascular disease, taking daily aspirin is not without danger. The blood-thinning effect of aspirin can present a risk for internal bleeding for some people.

You should not take an aspirin a day without your doctor’s approval.

When taken as directed, regular use of aspirin does not seem to increase the risk of kidney disease in people who have normal kidney function. However, taking doses that are too large (usually more than six or eight tablets a day) may temporarily—and possibly permanently—reduce kidney function. In people with kidney disease, aspirin may increase the tendency to bleed. People who already have reduced kidney function, or other health problems such as liver disease or severe heart failure, should not use aspirin without speaking to their doctor.

The development of stomach ulcers and gastrointestinal bleeding has been the most common serious side effect from taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and aspirin. NSAIDs also increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

There is no evidence of risk regarding the regular use of aspirin in the small doses recommended for prevention of heart attacks. Use of a baby aspirin, a dose of 81-162 milligrams (mg) daily, is fine, even with reduced kidney function.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.