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Aspirin Use for Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Older Patients: A Review of Clinical Guidelines and Updated Evidence

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OBJECTIVE: To provide an up-to-date review of current guidelines, previous trials, and new trials regarding aspirin use in primary prevention of cardiovascular (CV) disease in the elderly population. DATA SOURCES: A PubMed search of articles published through April 2019 was performed using a combination of the following words: aspirin, bleeding, cardiovascular, elderly, hemorrhage, myocardial infarction, primary prevention, stroke. STUDY SELECTION/DATA EXTRACTION: Relevant randomized controlled trials, meta-analyses, and guidelines were assessed for the use of aspirin in primary prevention of CV disease in older patients. References from the above literature were also evaluated. Articles were selected for inclusion based on relevance to the topic, detailed methods, and complete results. DATA SYNTHESIS: The role of aspirin for primary prevention of CV disease in older adults is not well defined. As a result, the guideline recommendations for the use of aspirin in this setting are inconsistent. In 2018, the ARRIVE, ASCEND, and ASPREE studies were published. These studies tried to address some of the inconsistencies regarding the use of aspirin in primary prevention of CV disease. This article reviews the current recommendations along with previous and recent studies for aspirin use for primary prevention in older adults. CONCLUSION: The role of aspirin for primary prevention of CV disease in older adults should be individualized based on patient's risk factors, including risk of CV disease and likelihood of bleeding. Updated evidence provides more guidance regarding which patient populations will benefit from therapy.
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Keywords: ASPIRIN; BLEEDING; CARDIOVASCULAR; ELDERLY; HEMORRHAGE; MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION; PRIMARY PREVENTION; STROKE

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: October 1, 2019

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  • The Senior Care Pharmacist® is the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists. It is dedicated exclusively to the medication needs of the elderly in all settings, including adult day care, ambulatory care, assisted living, community, hospice, and nursing facilities. This award-winning journal is a member benefit of ASCP. Individuals who are not members and wish to receive The Senior Care Pharmacist® will want to consider joining ASCP.
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