ibusinesslines.com November 18, 2018

Think twice before starting to take daily aspirin

19 September 2018, 08:38 | Melissa Porter

Think twice before starting to take daily aspirin


He said all patients should follow the advice of their doctor about their daily use of aspirin. "What we've demonstrated is that there really is no significant benefit of being on a low dose daily aspirin if you're healthy and 70 and older, and that the risk of bleeding outweigh the benefits".

The study involved 19,000 people aged over 70 and has been in practice for seven years.

"This study shows why it is so important to conduct this type of research so that we can gain a fuller picture of aspirin's benefits and risks among healthy older persons", Richard Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging, said in a statement.

"For healthy people, 70 and older, who don't have a reason to be on aspirin, such as a previous heart attack or stroke, there was no discernible benefit".

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

The test subjects, majority from Australia, were older than 70, except for blacks and Hispanics in the United States, who were recruited at age 65 or older because people in those groups have a higher risk of heart disease and cardiovascular problems than whites.

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

One surprise for the researchers was that the group that took aspirin died at a slightly higher rate from all causes than the group that didn't.

According to these three new studies, however, taking a low-dose aspirin daily is, at best, a waste of money for healthy older adults. The trial will result in a rethinking of global guidelines relating to the use of aspirin to prevent common conditions associated with ageing, he says.

The study found it could actually increase the risk of internal bleeding.

Dr Gabriel Choi Kin, former president of the Hong Kong Medical Association, said the use of low-dose aspirin for healthy elderly people was controversial.

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. In addition, most did not take aspirin regularly before entering the study. This counted the uptick in upper gastrointestinal bleeding (HR 1.87, 95% CI 1.32-2.66) and intracranial bleeds (HR 1.50, 95% CI 1.11-2.02).

"A lot of people read, 'Well, aspirin is good for people who have heart problems".

And what about people with high blood pressure or high cholesterol who might be taking other medicines to mitigate a higher risk of heart attack or stroke?

In older people, any effect of aspirin on reducing heart disease or stroke might be expected to be enhanced due to their higher underlying risk. They found that the rates for major cardiovascular events-including coronary heart disease, nonfatal heart attacks, and fatal and nonfatal ischemic stroke-were similar in the aspirin and the placebo groups. The patients who took aspirin didn't report differences in dementia or physical disability compared to the control group. "The rate of major haemorrhage was 8.6 events per 1000 person years and 6.2 events per 1000 person years, respectively", said the study.

Researchers also found the use of low-dose aspirin did not substantially lower the risk of cardiovascular disease in healthy older adults, and instead significantly increased their risk of major haemorrhage (bleeding that can lead to a stroke).

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