Daily aspirin unlikely to help healthy older people live longer, study finds

Ebony Scott
September 19, 2018

Some completely healthy people also choose to take aspirin to reduce their risk and there is continuing research into whether the drug can be used to cut the risk of cancer.

So yes, don't pop aspirin if you are healthy.

"We knew there would an increased risk of bleeding with aspirin, because there has always been", said study coauthor Dr. Anne Murray, a geriatrician and epidemiologist at the Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

"The trial was terminated at a median of 4.7 years of follow-up after a determination was made that there would be no benefit with continued aspirin use with regard to the primary end point", the authors noted in a report published online in the New England Journal of Medicine (one of three covering various aspects of the trial).

Peter Rothwell, professor of neurology at the Centre for the Prevention of Stroke and Dementia at the University of Oxford, said taking the tablets if healthy, over the age of 70 and have not had a previous heart attack or stroke, is "really of very little benefit".

The study examined more than 19,000 people in the United States and Australia, most of whom were aged older than 70.

The researchers found an increase in the number of cases of serious internal bleeding among the aspirin takers (3.8%) compared to the placebo group (2.8%).

Of those taking the medicine, 5.9% died during the study compared to 5.2% of the placebo group.

The cancer finding surprised researchers because in other studies, aspirin protected against death from cancer.

A large clinical trial involving participants in Australia and the US found a daily low-dose aspirin had no effect on prolonging life in healthy, elderly people. No, says a large scale study that was actually meant to study how aspirin could help! ASPREE has provided this answer.

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Millions of people take small doses of aspirin, like a baby aspirin, every day to reduce their risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

A daily low-dose aspirin regimen may be doing you more harm than good, it turns out.

Based on their medical history, all of the participants were expected to live for at least another five years at the time they were enrolled in the study.

For those who had previously survived a cardiovascular event, regular aspirin was beneficial, the study found. Significant hemorrhage occurrences elementarily involved upper gastrointestinal and intracranial bleeding.

Researchers found people taking the aspirin showed a significantly higher risk of bleeding, such as hemorrhages. Bleeding is a well-known side effect of aspirin, and is more common in older people.

The participants weren't told whether they were taking aspirin or not.

The Heart Foundation does not recommend that people who do not have coronary heart disease take daily aspirin.

So what should older healthy adults do with this new information about aspirin?

They said that while higher all-cause mortality was observed among apparently healthy older adults who received daily aspirin, than among those who received placebo, this was attributed primarily to cancer-related death and in the context of previous studies, this result was unexpected and should be interpreted with caution.

Other reports by GizPress

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