Costs of daily aspirin may outweigh benefits for older adults, study finds

Older person taking medicine

The Monash University-lead ASPREE (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) trial, involving more than 19,000 patients in Australia and the USA, found that one 100mg aspirin a day did not prolong life free of disability, and did not significantly reduce the risk of a first heart attack or stroke among healthy participants.

Until now, the balance between risks and benefits in older individuals was unclear, said Dr McNeil.

A landmark US-Australian research has found that a low dose of aspirin will not help older adults live longer or prevent their first heart attack, instead will increase the risk of bleeding in older people.

"I've spent the last five, six years trying to get all my seniors to stop taking aspirin" based on the clear risks and unproven benefit, he told Reuters Health by phone.

"[The elderly population] is where the taking of aspirin is most likely to have its risks", McNeil explained.

However, experts warned last night that tens of thousands of healthy people may be self-medicating with the over-the-counter drug on the basis of flawed belief as to its benefits.

Of the aspirin-takers, 3.8% experienced serious bleeding compared to 2.8% in the placebo group.

The primary study looked to answer whether or not 100 milligrams of aspirin a day really could help prevent everything from heart attacks to cancer.

Kavanaugh accuser says she is willing to testify before Senate
Lindsey Graham, of SC , echoed Grassley's concerns and floated the possibility of hearing testimony from Ford in the coming days. "I thought he might inadvertently kill me", Christine Blasey Ford told The Washington Post in her first interview.

Indeed, the second study details that "the risk of major hemorrhage was significantly higher with aspirin than with a placebo". "There's a lot of folks on both sides of this but this study should end the question".

"Essentially, we could not identify any subgroup in whom aspirin was beneficial in preserving good health", Dr. McNeil said.

"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", John McNeil, head of the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Monash University in Australia, said in a statement. The difference wasn't statistically significant, meaning it could have been due to chance.

The higher pace of cancer deaths became apparent three and a half years after the study began, particularly death from stomach and intestinal tumors. It compared the effects of aspirin and a placebo in people over the age of 70 without a medical condition that required aspirin.

McNeil added that a small increase in deaths observed in the aspirin group, primarily from cancer, required further investigation as researchers can not rule out that it may be a chance finding.

It's one of the most well-known tenets of modern medicine: An aspirin a day keeps the doctor away.

However, the authors of the studies added that their findings, "In the context of previous studies, this result was unexpected and should be interpreted with caution". In Australia, 16 sites were established across south-eastern Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, the ACT and southern NSW, to localise study activity and host community events that kept our volunteers updated and involved.

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