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June 9, 2008

Bayer with Heart Advantage: Not a One a Day Aspirin

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Health — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:21 am

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.

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  1. Good catch! Where do you find these things? I mean, shrinking ice cream can be caught by glancing at the front panel of a package, but the recommended daily dose of phytosterals is mouseprint that I would probably miss, and I’m an EMT!

    Keep up the great work.

    Edgar replies: Thanks, Andrew. Finding this stuff is HARD (that is why folks are invited to submit ideas — see link on the left). It happened that this product was advertised in the Sunday coupon insert, so I noticed the fine print that TWO pills were necessary to get the “heart advantage”. I am convinced that most people who already take 81 mg aspirin who buy this will continue to take one pill as has been their habit.

    Comment by Andrew — June 9, 2008 @ 9:23 am
  2. Wouldn’t you get the other 400mg of the phytosterols from your diet? Is this substance something that is in normal healthy food?

    If the FDA suggests splitting the 800mg daily suggestion into two or more ‘servings’, I would think that diet would/could be the other portion.

    Yes, it does seem misleading to suggest that one of the 81mg Bayer aspirins takes care of the daily suggested dose.

    Comment by blasher — June 9, 2008 @ 11:08 am
  3. huh. I wonder why Bayer just doesn’t come out with a 40.5mg pill with the added phytosterols…

    Comment by ajewel — June 9, 2008 @ 11:11 am
  4. If Bayer is going to advise patients to get the advice of their physician before taking the product shouldn’t that also be prominently displayed on the label?

    Comment by John P. — June 9, 2008 @ 4:11 pm
  5. Good catch, though the claim itself is irrelevant. Phytosterols have questionable, if any, benefit in reducing the risk of heart disease. As for the claim, you could eat ANYTHING “as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol” and reduce your risk of heart disease. It’s the diet low in fat that is efficacious, not the stuff that’s part of the diet.

    It’s all just a marketing gimmick. That’s why there is no 40.5mg pill (a dose which has no proven benefit in heart disease) or twice daily prescription (a dose of 162mg which is still reasonable but higher than recommended and may possibly have a slightly increased risk of bleeding – hello lawsuits!)

    Comment by Ram — June 9, 2008 @ 8:44 pm
  6. why not just take a stand alone phytosterol pill?? or make the aspirin with 400mg of phytos + 40.5mg aspirin per pill to be taken twice daily?

    Comment by scir91 from YouTube — June 9, 2008 @ 10:54 pm
  7. Ram – what’s with the misinformation?

    Studies show as little as 30 mg/day of aspirin to be efficacious.

    Phytosterols have been shown in many studies to not only a lower cholesterol, but the studies also show that there is a corresponding lowering of heart disease risk.

    Comment by Ram_duh — June 24, 2008 @ 12:45 am
  8. I see, also in very small print, that diabetics should check for adverse drug interactions. I take glyburide, Januvia and glucophage. Is there a problem with Heart Advantage and its interaction with these prescribed drugs?

    Comment by terry williams — June 26, 2008 @ 1:09 pm
  9. I disagree with a lot of the comments above – there is little difference in the risk of bleeding from 81 vs 162 mg of ASA – as a matter of fact some studies show that the best dose of ASA is 325mg per day (unless this causes gastric distress which will usually show up as noticeable symptoms)

    This is a small step in reducing the no 1 killer but I am taking 2-3 doses of Heart Advantage/day because it makes sense and recommending it to patients.

    FWIW, in 35 years of practice I’ve rarely seen any bleeding complications from daily ASA use at any dose.

    Art Sands MD
    Family Practice

    Comment by Art Sands MD — June 30, 2008 @ 1:40 pm
  10. so why not just take one and get the rest from food?
    the way i see it, i have to take the 81 aspirin anyway so
    why not try it?
    I’ve been taking 2 teaspoons of liquid omega 3 fish oil daily and
    even that has brought my cholesterol down with no meds since i can’t
    take statins.

    Comment by Bunella — July 5, 2008 @ 10:32 am
  11. I appreciate what you’re doing, but I actually see their point. This supplement is to be taken twice a day, but aspirin can be taken once, twice, or three times a day, as directed by the doctor. I know that several doctors say you’re supposed to take two baby aspirin (including mine). And, they say it’s better to take it intermittently throughout the day.

    Therefore, I think it’s pretty clear that if you only are supposed to take one, you do so and then take more phytosterols from your diet. However, if your doctor says you can take two, you do so twice a day and get enough from this product to help lower your cholesterol.

    By saying you need to take aspirin twice a day, Bayer would be taking my doctor’s place. I just take two baby aspirins a day (generic, by the way), but the label doesn’t say so, my doctor says so. If I would follow my aspirin’s label, I would have to take one every four to six hours!

    The fix I think is in the medical community and the FDA getting to allowing a proper label for aspirin for heart attack prevention. Who takes baby aspirin for pain anymore anyway?

    Just my opinion…

    Comment by realpeep — July 6, 2008 @ 7:47 pm
  12. If you do more research, one will find that the recommended daily dose of phytosterol is 1800 mg. I started to take a phytosterol complex of 1000 mg. but am only taking one per day. In summary, there seems to be a lot of confusion regarding the recommended daily dosage. As mentioned in other notes, Bayer 81mg with Heart Advantage offers 400 mg. per aspirin. In this case, you would be getting only 25% of the daily recommendations if you took one of these aspirins per day. Can we please get the medical experts to zero in on this subject a little bit further.

    Comment by Stuart Scott — July 7, 2008 @ 11:09 am
  13. They ( Bayer ) needs to make a 81 mg tab with the
    800 mg of phytosterol PERIOD !! And STOP
    Jerking us all around !!

    Thanks for the job work and letting us know what
    Was really going on with this new product .

    Also I think their should be law suites over this to
    Teach them a lesson .

    Roger Barry

    Comment by Roger Barry — July 14, 2008 @ 2:56 pm
  14. Big deal! I would not expect to get all my daily fiber from my aspirin. I’d look at this and be glad that half of the requirement was taken care of with my daily aspirin regimen. Then it would be that much easier to satisfy the other half of the fiber requirement with my dietary intake.

    Comment by Johnny — July 25, 2008 @ 5:16 pm
  15. This is a problem – the FDA has issued warning letters to companies bundling drugs with supplements. Supplements cannot be marketed as curing or mitigating any disease or they are drugs that have to be taken through clinical trials. Bayer is doing this illegally to grab some $$ before they are halted by the FDA. I called Bayer’s consumer info line and they put me on hold, where I was eventually disconnected!!!

    Comment by Tim — August 11, 2008 @ 5:15 pm
  16. …..um, why did Bayer NOT consider making the asprin dosage 40.5 mg and do the reccommended 2 per day?? This would alleviate the problem of asprin dosage being too high and make it safer for all…..just a thought, he he

    Comment by Susan — August 28, 2008 @ 1:35 pm
  17. My GOD people, you either will eat right and get the remainder of phytosterols from food or take 400mg of phytosterols per day along with the Bayer. How fat and lazy is America getting when the thought of taking on more supplement makes people sweat at the thought of the physical activity it involves. Everything is propaganda these days, at least to the mentally ill. Eat right, exercise, and take a Bayer if necessary and if needed take 2 – 162mg of coated aspirin isn’t much more harsh than 81 anyhow.

    Comment by Greg — September 10, 2008 @ 11:59 pm
  18. My cardiologist said it would be a good idea to take the new Bayer. She then told me that they were, indeed, more pricey than aspirin and I could get the same cholesterol-lowering benefits from a bowl of oatmeal daily. I think I’ll stick to my regular aspirin regimen and eat oatmeal.

    Comment by Fran — September 15, 2008 @ 10:31 am
  19. There are plenty of plant phytosterols to be consumed in a balanced diet, however, if your taking an 81mg aspirin as I have been for the last ten years for no particular reason except to be on the safe side, why not take ONE of the Heart Advantage as additional insurance instead of increasing the dose just because it states on the label that two is better. Pity it is not available in Canada(yet).

    Comment by RUSS — October 1, 2008 @ 12:28 pm
  20. Use this product with caution. My 72 year-old husband only used it 2 or 3 months and developed pounding pulse in his ears and an irregular heartbeat.

    Comment by Carol — January 9, 2009 @ 12:15 am
  21. Thnx so much for this catch. FYI the FDA is on top of Bayer on this product. See letter of Oct 27, 2008. I feel duped. I just finished my first bottle of this product, had a cholesterol test and found less benefit than with dietary modifications. I am going back to the tried and true 81 mg aspirin only for my blood clot propensity with appropriate diet for lowering cholesterol.

    Comment by Another Carol — March 6, 2009 @ 10:18 am
  22. I am a 67 year old male who commenced using this product three months ago to replace the daily 81 mg aspirin dose. I have developed minor pain in my ears and my doctor has advised that I have also developed an irregular heartbeat notwithstanding a five day exercise program on a stationary bike and threadmill.

    Comment by Ben Poirier — April 23, 2009 @ 11:08 pm
  23. The side affects from taking Bayer’s Heart Advantage, such as ear pain and irregular heart beats, may be the result of ingesting the artificial yellow color contained in the phytosterol pill piggy-bakced onto the aspirin tablet. Artificial colors are mostly petroleum derivatives. There may be a cumulative effect if the body cannot effectively dispose of it, which, in my opinion, could also cause cancer in the long run. Bayer should know better than using artificial colors in their products. But they are cheap, and Bayer might even manufacture them, which makes them even cheaper for Bayer’s use. It’s called “increading the profit margin”.

    Comment by John Mertens — May 7, 2009 @ 10:26 pm
  24. My doctor was going to put me on prescription cholesterol medication if I hadn’t “asked my doctor” about taking one “Bayer Heart Advantage” in the morning, two “Nature Made Cholest Off Complete” at noon and again at dinner time. He said, “Let’s go with that.”

    “Nature Made Cholest Off Complete” reduces dietary AND genetic cholesterol. “Product contains at least 400 mg per serving of plant sterols and stanols, eaten twice a day with meal for a daily intake of at least 800 mg AS PART OF A DIET IN LOW SATURATED FATS AND CHOLESTEROL, MAY REDUCE the risk of heart disease. One serving of “Nature Made Cholest Off Complete” supplies 900 mg of plant sterols and stanols per daily intake of 1800 mg.” (Description from the bottle…uppercase emphasises are mine)

    I read labels, I research the internet, and I asked my doctor. So it’s up to me to take these pills, control my diet and exercise.

    My point is this: We are responsible for our own lives, not the government, not pharmacy companies, not even our doctors. Yes, some people may not “know any better,” but that does not excuse them from their responsibility.

    Thank you for allowing me to express my opinion.

    Comment by MJ — July 9, 2009 @ 11:37 am
  25. well; all you folks can git off the box!
    Bayer has taken the product off the shelves.
    So now they offer the heart advantage without aspirin.
    So that adds another pill or two to the daily regimen.
    Like I ain’t taking enuf pills already!!
    So bottom line,,,
    as a result of the belly aching, Bayer has made the decision for you.
    NO phytosterols in your aspirin regimen.
    You all, along with the FDA can take pride!
    Thanks folks!

    Comment by wallace adams — July 14, 2009 @ 8:01 pm
  26. Yes, but is the ‘Bayer Heart Advantage without Aspirin’ – STILL SAFE TO TAKE?

    Comment by Albert Pass — August 16, 2009 @ 9:50 pm
  27. We purchased the Bayer Heart Advantage that shows 81mg in the red heart area on the box. However, when we have searched for the item again, we are unable to find the same item. The box looks the same, however, it does not show the 81 mg on the box. It just states that it has 400 grams of physterol on the back of the box. My husband is a heart patient and liked this product. It is not available any longer or what?

    I have searched Kroger where we originally purchased it and Walmart, Target you name it. Please advise if this item is available any ,longer or not? Your quick response would be greatly appreciated.

    Edgar replies: Bayer discontinued the product with aspirin. Now only the version you saw is available.


    Comment by shelia mumford — November 4, 2009 @ 1:02 am
  28. OK, so you now have to take SEPERATELY the asprin with
    the Bayer Heart Advantage –

    Have there been any reports/results of this product recently?

    Comment by Ralph Malph — January 6, 2010 @ 4:20 am
  29. I was surprised to find that my new Bayer Heart Advantage doesn’t include aspirin. It had included aspirin in the past but not now; so I had not been taking my aspirin for the last 3 months. In looking at the new Heart Advantage box, it does say “non aspirin formula” but I thought I was using the combined aspirin/phystolerols product. But I wasn’t. The product is sold in the aspirin section of CVS so, for those who used the prior combined aspirin/phytoserols product, you are not on aspirin.

    Comment by Joe A — January 16, 2010 @ 11:34 pm
  30. I would be very interested in the experience of other diabetics with Heart Health Advantage without aspirin. 24/

    Comment by ruth conner — April 23, 2010 @ 12:57 pm
  31. I had a bypass in 1997 at 46 years of age. I have strugled with my colestrol for many years. I have been on a vast aray of Statin drugs and each had its benifits and side effects. I found last year that I again had additional blockage. I tried diets and a variety of suppliments but still had angina, until I purchased the Bayer Health Advantage. I had taken it for less than 3 weeks when I noticed that my angina had significantly reduced. Then I had a home health nurse do a blood panel and found that my blood colestrol had droped from 225 down to 85. I have been taking the Bayer heart health advantage in combination with 40 mg of lipitor. I did not consult my cardiologist so I would not recomend this for anyone. However, my liver enzymes were in great shape and my good coloestrol levels had increased to 48. That is higher than I have ever had. I don’t know about anyone else but that stuff works for me.

    Comment by Glen S — September 7, 2010 @ 4:31 pm
  32. What about the NON Aspirin formula.

    Comment by Karen — July 28, 2011 @ 8:32 am
  33. Why has WalMart taken Bayer’s Heart Health Advantage off its shelves?

    Comment by John — August 9, 2011 @ 8:11 am
  34. We can not find Heart Health Advantage anywhere. Has it been taken off the market? My husband has used it for over a year now.

    Comment by Linda — August 28, 2011 @ 1:05 pm
  35. I have looked every where for Heart Advantage with Phytosterols none to be found..I find something that helps & can’t get it..Can’t take statins…

    Comment by Pat Miller — October 7, 2011 @ 10:23 pm
  36. I found it at Walmart, also Walgreens and CVS carry it. I took this every day for a month, and took 2 to 4 a day. I wasnt on an aspirin regimen prior to that. 4 pill equal a regular 325mg aspirin. before taking this my trig. were 89, chol. 213, HDL 59, and LDL 136. I didnt change my diet at all, except maybe adding cheese and eggs, and the results were trig 78, chol 168, HDL 57, and LDL 95. Of course I would check with your doctor before changing any medications.

    Comment by Paula Price — October 24, 2011 @ 2:10 pm
  37. I’m a diabetic and have been since I was 18 and I’m now 60. I’ve been taking the Bayer Heart Health Advantage phytosterols Non-aspirin Formula (without aspirin) for about 6-9 months and my last cholestrol check was absolutely perfect. My lows and highs are where they are suppose to be. I also take lecithin which helps. But, now I can’t find the Bayer Heart Health Advantage anywhere. I’ve checked all the usual haunts and nothing.

    Comment by Kathy Tate — November 6, 2011 @ 9:20 am
  38. I have been buying Bayer Heart Health Advantage and I can’t find any in any store. I have gone on line and there is remarks that we may not be able to buy this product. Is this product no longer available anymore?

    Comment by T Ryan — November 25, 2011 @ 11:15 pm

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