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Highland Life / News / NHS Highland / Change To Guidelines On Prescribing Asprin To Prevent Heart Disease

Change To Guidelines On Prescribing Asprin To Prevent Heart Disease

Issued: 6 Jul 2010

Doctors across NHS Highland have started to review their prescribing of low-dose aspirin in light of new guidelines.

Until recently, aspirin was prescribed for people who had previously had a heart attack or stroke and for people who were considered to be at risk of developing heart disease.

This approach has now been changed. New information from clinical trials has shown that aspirin should only be prescribed for people who have previously had a heart attack or stroke.

For other people, the risks of being treated with aspirin outweigh the beneficial effects. The main risk of aspirin treatment is bleeding of the stomach.

Aspirin at a dose of 75mg daily has been used for the prevention of heart attacks and stroke. However, NHS Highland prescribing guidelines have now been updated in line with this new evidence and doctors have started to review their prescribing accordingly.

Therefore, patients who currently take aspirin may either receive a letter from their doctor telling them to stop taking aspirin or be asked to make an appointment with their doctor to discuss whether to stop their aspirin treatment.

Thomas Ross, who is Lead Pharmacist for South East Highland Community Health Partnership, said: "Patients should always discuss with their doctor before stopping taking any medicines.

“It is important that people taking aspirin, who have already had a heart attack or a stroke, continue to do so.

“However, people who do not currently have heart disease and have been taking aspirin should discuss with their doctor whether they can stop taking it."

© 2010 Highland Public Services Partnership.
Project part-financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) within the INTERREG IIIB Northern Periphery Programme