You may have seen TV and print ads for a new low dose aspirin called “Bayer Aspirin with Heart Advantage.” It is an 81 mg aspirin combined with an ingredient that can lower your cholesterol.
With about 50 million Americans taking daily aspirin therapy to reduce the risk of heart disease, what a great idea (seemingly) to incorporate an ingredient that can also lower cholesterol.
There is just one little problem with this little pill.
*MOUSE PRINT: At the bottom of the ad, in fine print, (magnified below) is this advisory:
Translation: In order to get the cholesterol lowering benefits of this pill, you need to take two of these 81 mg pills a day — twice the typically recommended 81 mg. dose of aspirin. (The most common dosage for daily aspirin therapy is 81 mg. because larger doses can cause internal bleeding, and are no more effective.)
A spokesperson for Bayer confirmed the necessity of taking two caplets in order to receive the cholesterol lowering benefits promised, but said,
… 162 mg is well within the accepted low dose range of aspirin therapy of from 50 to 325 mg … We advise patients to ask their physician before they start Bayer Heart Advantage…
One only has to wonder how many people will grab this product, take their regular single 81 mg pill as usual thinking they were getting “more heart protection” when they are not. Why didn’t Bayer just put the full 800 mg of phytosterols necessary to get a heart advantage in a single 81 mg aspirin caplet and thus avoid mis-dosing?
“The FDA claim specifies that ‘the daily dietary intake of plant sterol or stanol esters should be consumed in two servings eaten at different times of the day with other foods.’ The health claim also says that dietary supplements or food containing at least 400mg per serving of free phytosterols, eaten twice a day with meals for a daily total intake of at least 800mg, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood cholesterol.” — Bayer spokesperson.
To emphasize that the dosing is different for this product, Bayer should put a conspicuous disclosure on the front panel that says “Take one twice a day,” and not merely rely on the fine print instructions on the back.