A new British study finds that people who take aspirin every day have a higher risk of developing Crohn’s disease, a potentially devastating digestive illness.
But it’s still not very likely that aspirin users will develop the condition, and the study’s lead author said patients should keep in mind that aspirin lowers the risk of heart disease.
“If the link with aspirin is a true one, then only a small proportion of those who take aspirin — approximately one in 2,000 — may be at risk,” said study author Dr. Andrew Hart, a senior lecturer in gastroenterology at University of East Anglia School of Medicine. “If aspirin has been prescribed to people with Crohn’s disease or with a family history by their physician, then they should continue to take it. Aspirin has many beneficial effects and should be continued.”
An estimated 500,000 people in the United States have Crohn’s disease, which causes digestive problems and can boost the risk of bowel cancer. In some cases, patients must undergo surgery; many have to take medications for the rest of their lives.