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About one billion people worldwide take regular aspirin, usually to prevent heart attacks or strokes. Writing in The Lancet, researchers have shown that ‘one-dose-fits-all’ use of aspirin to prevent heart attacks, stroke or cancer, is ineffective or harmful in the majority of people, and that a more tailored strategy is required.

One dose of aspirin doesn2019t fit all.jpg

Image courtesy of Shutterstock. 

Daily aspirin reduces blood clots by inhibiting platelets, but yields only modest long-term reductions in heart attacks and strokes, although it remains the most widely used antiplatelet drug in routine practice. 

The researchers suspected that the disparity between the effect of aspirin on platelets in laboratory studies and clinical benefits in practice might be due to the ‘one-dose-fits-all’ approach adopted in trials and practice, with under-dosing at high body-size and excess-dosing at low body-size. They hypothesised that standard low-dose aspirin (i.e. 75-100mg daily), which is widely used in UK and Europe, would be insufficient at high body-size, whereas higher doses (325mg daily is widely used in the USA) would be excessive at lower body-size.

Find out more (University of Oxford website)