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Taking aspirin must be managed 'carefully and effectively', says College

She said: "Prescribing is a core skill for GPs and patients can be assured that their family doctor will only ever prescribe medication following a full and frank discussion, outlining the potential risks and side effects associated with the drugs, and considering their unique circumstances and medical history, as well as the medications they are already taking and how they will interact with each other.

"Aspirin can be an inexpensive and effective drug for reducing risks of recurrence in patients who have suffered a stroke or heart attack, but we have known for many years that there are risks and side effects involved with its long-term use, and this study highlights the importance of managing its use carefully and effectively.

"It is important that this research is considered as clinical guidelines are updated and developed, in the best interests of our patients.

"Patients who regularly take aspirin – either as prescribed by their doctor or who have self-medicated – should not panic as a result of this research. But if they are concerned about taking the drug they should discuss it with their GP at their next routine appointment, or with their local pharmacist."

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