It is currently fashionable to prescribe aspirin, long-term to people with or at high risk of vascular events due to atherosclerosis. There is a moderately conclusive evidence for a short-term benefit after an acute vascular event. However, there is remarkably little evidence that long-term aspirin is effective for the prevention of vascular events and managing side effects may be expensive. Reductions in nonfatal vascular events may reflect an ability of aspirin to alter cosmetically the presentation of disease without exerting real benefit. Cardiovascular medicine appears prone to fads and fashions that are poorly substantiated by evidence. The current fashion for prescribing aspirin is reminiscent of the now discredited practice of widespread prescription of class I anti-arrhythmic drugs for ventricular ectopics. We should learn from experience.
Copyright 2002, Elsevier Science.