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The Best Aspirin Regimen Post-Heart Attack

The Best Aspirin Regimen Post-Heart Attack

It’s said that new habits die easily, but old habits die hard, and that seems to be especially true when it comes to doctors who send their heart-attack patients home from the hospital with a directive for daily aspirin. While the current American College of Cardiology guidelines call for low-dose aspirin (81mg daily) following a first heart attack to help prevent a second one, a team of researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centerfound that between January 2007 and March 2011, almost 61% of all heart-attack patients were on high-dose aspirin (325mg) when they were discharged. Only about 36% got the low-dose. A few folks got other doses. Old habits really do die hard.

Why does this matter? Well, a prior study shows that low dose aspirin (81mg) is just as effective as high dose aspirin (325mg) when it comes to preventing another heart attack and it’s less likely to cause complications, such as gastrointestinal bleeding,  stroke, ringing in the ears and even hearing loss. So, if you -- or a loved one -- has suffered a heart attack, make sure you talk to your doctor about the benefits of taking low-dose aspirin. If you’re on a higher dose, don’t stop it without talking to your doctor; that can increase further heart attack risk. And ask your doc about two low dose aspirins a day or 162mg total. We like the cancer protection that dose affords. And remember to drink ½ a glass of warm water before and after you take each pill. 

Medically reviewed in March 2019.

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