Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Your Daily Aspirin Use Could Be Hurting You, Research Shows

The study found it could actually increase the risk of internal bleeding The study found it could actually increase the risk of internal bleeding
Francis Osborne | 18 September, 2018, 12:19

'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'.

Aspirin did not significantly reduce the risk of a heart attack, stroke, or extend life free of disability or dementia among healthy adults over the age of 70, a comprehensive study found.

In the ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly trial, 16,703 people in Australia and 2,411 in the United States were enrolled and followed up for an average of 4.7 years.

There is good evidence that taking aspirin can help people with known cardiovascular problems.

At the end of the trial, 90.3 percent of the aspirin-treated patients were still alive, compared to 90.5 percent of those who received placebos. But it had been unclear whether healthy people older than 70 would derive the same benefit.

"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", Murray told NBC News. "Aspirin is a double-edged sword; it is absolutely essential drug and a lifesaver in patients with established heart disease (or arterial blockages) and many patients with diabetes where risk is high".

The trial followed 19,114 seniors - 2,411 from the US and 16,703 Australians - for an average of 4.7 years.

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

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But the rate of major bleeding with daily aspirin use was 3.8 per cent, versus 2.8 per cent with placebo.

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).

"We knew there would an increased risk of bleeding with aspirin, because there has always been", said study coauthor Dr. Anne Murray, a geriatrician and epidemiologist at the Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute and the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Though aspirin has been around for more than 100 years, it was unclear whether healthy older people should take it as a preventive to keep them healthy for longer, he says, adding "aspirin is the most widely used of all preventive drugs and an answer to this question is long overdue". 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. Patients who were black or Hispanic and living in the U.S. - two groups that face a higher risk of heart disease or dementia - could be age 65 or older.

Around half of the participants took a 100mg low dose of aspirin daily, while the others were given a placebo. For adults 60 to 69, the task force recommended the decision should be made on a case-by-case basis.

"The rate of adherence to the assigned intervention was 62.1% in the aspirin group and 64.1% in the placebo group in the final year of trial participation".

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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