Aspirin for primary prevention: do potential benefits outweigh the risks?

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The role of aspirin for primary prevention in healthy individuals has been the subject of clinical trials for more than a quarter of a century. Because of this evidence, or sometimes despite it, many individuals self-administer aspirin to prevent cardiovascular events. This article reviews the published work for aspirin in primary prevention of cardiovascular and malignant diseases and considers whether aspirin would be approved by regulatory authorities for this use if it were to be marketed for this indication today.

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