Thursday, 18 October, 2018

With daily low-dose aspirin use, risks may outweigh benefits

The use of aspirin by healthy people over 70 had no real impact on a person's likelihood to suffer from heart disease An aspirin a day will not keep the doctor away, new study says
Johnnie Parks | 20 September, 2018, 20:46

The ASPREE (ASpirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) trial involved 19,000 participants from Australia and the U.S., making it the largest and most comprehensive study to look at whether there are any health benefits to taking 100 milligrams of aspirin a day for older people.

Over 19,000 people in Australia and the USA were studied over seven years for the study was called ASPREE - Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly.

The minimum age was 70; 65 in the United States for African-American and Hispanic individuals due to their higher risk for dementia and cardiovascular disease. They are free of medical conditions requiring aspirin use and free of dementia and physical disability.

New seven year long study has found aspirin medication doesn't make seniors live longer.

Dr Nespolon said while there have been mixed opinions on whether giving healthy people aspirin is a good idea, this new study "clearly shows people over 70 shouldn't be taking aspirin as simply an aid to their health".

Regardless, the findings raise serious questions as to whether otherwise healthy older people should routinely take low-dose aspirin. However, studies in younger people showed that the risks outweighed the benefits and the new research confirms that the same is true for the elderly.

Researchers at Monash University in Australia engaged nearly 20,000 people in the country and in United States with an average age of 74. The research was supported in part by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Cancer Institute (NCI), both parts of the NIH.

"We don't want to tell anybody to stop their aspirin who's already taking it; it's a very individual decision with each patient and they should discuss it with their doctor", Dr. Margolis said.

ASPREE was a 19,114-person study of low-dose aspirin conducted in Australia and the U.S.

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In fact, the group taking aspirin had a slightly increased risk of death - 5.9 percent died compared with 5.2 percent taking a placebo.

People were recruited between 2010 and 2014, and had to be free of dementia, physical disability or any medical condition that would require aspirin use.

Two other studies aimed to identify the effects aspirin can have on the body.

There was also an increase in cancer deaths in the aspirin-treated group, which surprised the researchers.

The researchers also analyzed the ASPREE results to determine whether cardiovascular events took place.

People are prescribed aspirin after a heart attack or stroke because the drug thins the blood and reduces the chances of a repeat attack. In the aspirin group, 448 people experienced cardiovascular events, compared with 474 people in the placebo group.

There is good evidence for people with known cardiovascular problems to take aspirin.

But internal bleeding (hemorrhagic stroke, bleeding in the brain, gastrointestinal bleeding, and other bleeding) was found in 3.8% of patients taking aspirin versus 2.7% of those taking a placebo. Heart disease and stroke accounted for 19 percent of the deaths and major bleeding for 5 percent.

And if that weren't enough, the third study also found that aspirin may have "higher all-cause mortality. among apparently healthy older adults who received daily aspirin than among those who received [a] placebo and was attributed primarily to cancer-related death".

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