Thursday, 21 February, 2019

An Aspirin a Day Won't Make Healthy Adults Live Longer, Study Shows

A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine says healthy people who take low-dose aspirin every day receive no health benefit An Aspirin a Day Won't Make Healthy Adults Live Longer, Study Shows
Melissa Porter | 18 September, 2018, 23:59

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.

One of the more unexpected findings of the study was that people who took aspirin were slightly more likely to have died over the course of the trial from any cause (5.9 percent) than those who took the placebo (5.2 percent).

No detectable benefit seen from regular use of low-dose aspirin for people 70 and older who don't have heart disease, researchers say.For decades, a daily dose of aspirin has been widely considered a way to protect healthy people from cardiovascular disease and even cancer.

"Despite the fact that aspirin has been around for more than 100 years, we have not known whether healthy older people should take it as a preventive measure to keep them healthy for longer".

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.

"[The study] has provided this answer". There is substantial evidence that supports the daily use of aspirin for secondary prevention of heart disease, which means patients are prescribed the drug after they've already experienced a heart attack or stroke.

Doctors in Australia and the USA enrolled more than 19,000 healthy people, mostly aged over 70, for the trial.

Three reports in the New England Journal of Medicine showed the pills did not reduce their risk of heart problems or have any other benefits. The new study was created to find out whether low-dose aspirin could prolong healthy, independent living in seniors who had not shown signs of heart disease.

The study also showed an increase in the number of cases of serious bleeding among the aspirin takers (3.8 per cent), compared to the placebo group (2.8 per cent). At the same time, the rate of hemorrhage was 8.6 events per 1,000 person-years in the aspirin group and 6.2 events in the control group.

The study was of 19,114 people in the USA and Australia in good health, with no history of heart problems and over the age of 70.

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.

"There was more bleeding, particularly from the stomach and upper gastrointestinal tract", Prof McNeil told AAP.

While US Preventive Services Task Force guidelines on aspirin use, among other worldwide guidelines, recommend a daily dose to prevent cardiovascular disease between the age of 50 and 69, a lack of available research meant this recommendation was not extended to people older than 70.

Major risks of bleeding in people who consume aspirin on a daily basis overwhelm its benefits.