Aspirin dose every day unnecessary for healthy older people

Aspirin dose every day unnecessary for healthy older people

Rates of cardiovascular events, such as coronary heart disease, non-fatal heart attacks and strokes, were similar across both groups, the study found.

The clinical trial, which ran from 2010 to 2014 and included 19,114 individuals 70 years and older from the USA and Australia, found that a low daily dose of aspirin only marginally decreased a patient's risk of cardiovascular disease while significantly increasing the patient's risk of hemorrhage. But when researchers looked at more than 19,000 people in Australia and the United States over almost five years, they found it wasn't so.

In the study, a preventive regimen of daily aspirin did not lower the risk of having a heart attack or stroke, but it did significantly increase the risk of bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract or brain - bleeding severe enough to require hospitalization and/or blood transfusions.

Experts last night urged people to take medical advice from their before deciding whether or not to use aspirin regularly.

The trial followed 19,114 seniors - 2,411 from the USA and 16,703 Australians - for an average of 4.7 years.

Though aspirin has been around for more than 100 years, it was unclear whether healthy older people should take it as a preventive to keep them healthy for longer, he says, adding "aspirin is the most widely used of all preventive drugs and an answer to this question is long overdue".

According to principal investigator Professor John McNeil, head of Monash University's Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, the results of the trial will result in a rethinking of global guidelines relating to the use of aspirin to prevent common conditions associated with ageing.


There is evidence that aspirin can help to prevent heart attacks and strokes in people with heart problems, and doctors had hoped that the same would be true for the general population.

The study also discovered an increase in deaths from cancer, although the researchers think this needs further investigation as it goes against current findings in the field.

At the end of the study, the rate of cardiovascular disease between the two groups of participants was not much different: 9,525 of those taking the aspirin had developed cardiovascular disease compared to 9,589 of those taking the placebo.

"These findings will help inform prescribing doctors, who have always been uncertain about whether to recommend aspirin to healthy patients who do not have a clear medical reason for doing so". Heart disease and stroke accounted for 19 percent of the deaths and major bleeding for 5 percent.

In the ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly trial, 16,703 people in Australia and 2,411 in the United States were enrolled and followed up for an average of 4.7 years. "Analysis of all the cancer-related data from the trial is underway and until we have additional data, these findings should be interpreted with caution".

For those who had previously survived a cardiovascular event, regular aspirin was beneficial, the study found.

"There was a small increase in the number of death overall in the aspirin group, with the largest proportion of deaths due to cancer", said Murray.

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