I Am 75 Years Old, Yet My Doctor Told Me To Take Baby Aspirin. Is That Ok (Being That I’m Not A Baby)?

Dr. Krumholz answers the question: 'Is Baby Aspirin Okay For A 75-Year-Old?'

— -- Question: I am 75 years old, yet my doctor told me to take baby aspirin. Is that ok (being that I am not a baby)?

Answer: So this is really not an uncommon question, even though it may seem, on the face of it, a little silly that we have these aspirins called 'baby aspirins.' By the way, we often don't recommend aspirin for children anymore with fevers because of concerns of other problems, so it's only a legacy of something we used to do to call these aspirins 'baby aspirins.' What it really refers to is the dose of aspirin, and in general, this is a dose of aspirin that's 81 mg. Now this is the dose that's perfect for heart disease , and the point is that as you get higher in the dose of aspirin, you increase the risk of stomach problems, and it doesn't seem like you increase the benefit from the perspective of the heart.

So, many of us -- and the official guidelines are like this, really point people towards baby aspirin, and we use the word 'baby' because that's really pointing people toward this lower-end of dosing. But it may be better for you to think about a dose of like 81 mg, and I have no idea why they picked 81 when they put it for aspirin, but we're looking for a range of between 70 and 160 or a little bit more, but in general, 60 percent of Americans buy that dose at 81 mg, and believe it or not, more buy the higher dose probably because they're thinking they get more benefit. Right now, no evidence of that. So if you're told to pick up aspirin, go to the shelf, look for that baby aspirin, that 81 milligrams of aspirin. That's the one probably that's best for you.

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