Your Daily Aspirin Use Could Be Hurting You, Research Shows

Your Daily Aspirin Use Could Be Hurting You, Research Shows

Your Daily Aspirin Use Could Be Hurting You, Research Shows

Taking aspirin every day does not significantly reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke in healthy people over 70, a study has found.

The results of the Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) trial have been published in three papers in the New England Journal of Medicine.

He said all patients should follow the advice of their doctor about their daily use of aspirin. "But not only did it not decrease risk of disability or death, it did not decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke, and there was an increase in the rate of death".

When the participants were followed up almost five years later, doctors found that compared with the placebo, a daily aspirin had not reduced the risk of heart attack or stroke, or prolonged the number of years people lived without dementia or physical disabilities.

The risk is generally calculated using factors such as age, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, smoking history and other conditions such as diabetes.

Aspirin has always been used as a preventative measure to help reduce the risk of blood clots in patients who have suffered a heart attack or stroke.

He warned that the results do not apply to people with existing conditions such as a previous heart attack, angina or stroke, where aspirin is recommended to prevent further illness.

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.

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The group taking aspirin had an increased risk of death compared to the placebo group- 5.9 per cent of participants taking aspirin and 5.2 per cent taking placebo died during the study. Rates of physical disability and dementia were similar between the groups.

There was little difference in these measures between the 9589 patients in the placebo group and the 9525 in the aspirin group.

No individual component of the primary endpoint made a case for the benefit of aspirin, which failed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease as well (10.7 versus 11.3 events per 1,000 person-years, HR 0.95, 95% CI 0.83-1.08). But that evidence has caused much debate over whether the drug can therefore be used to prevent heart disease before it presents itself. "It is possible pre-existing cancers may have interacted with the aspirin". This was one finding from our seven-year study that included more than 19,000 older people from Australia and the US.

"ASPREE is a study that was probably long overdue", he said.

"Interpretation of these results should take into account the lower-than-expected rate of cardiovascular disease among the trial participants. most likely reflecting the relatively good health of the participant population at recruitment and the declining rate of cardiovascular disease in the two countries over time and across all age groups", the investigators suggested.

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

Dr. Ravi Dave says aspirin may make sense for a small group of older, healthy patients, even if they haven't already had a heart attack or stroke, such as smokers.

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