More men benefit from taking aspirin to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease than previously thought, a new study has suggested.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina in the US have found that taking aspirin was more effective at reducing heart risk rates in men whose ten-year risk for heart disease was 7.5 per cent or greater.
This risk level means that 7.5 people out of 100 can expect to have a heart attack within ten years.
However, before the studies, it was commonly thought that aspirin was only beneficial in men with a ten-year risk of ten per cent or greater.
"Our analysis suggests that it is also beneficial for men between five per cent and ten per cent risk," said Dr Michael Pignone, lead researcher on the study.
Dr Pignone also found that aspirin was not effective in men with less than five per cent risk, due to the risks of bleeding which cancelled out the benefit from prevention of coronary heart disease events.
"There are patients at higher risk for coronary heart disease who aren't getting aspirin therapy who could benefit and there are also those at lower risk who are taking aspirin but shouldn't be," Dr Pignone concluded.