Health Care

Ground-breaking research finds daily aspirin dose doesn't lead to longer life

Ground-breaking research finds daily aspirin dose doesn't lead to longer life”

Over a four-year span starting in 2010, the trial enrolled more than 19,000 people in Australia and the US who were 70 and older, or 65 for African-American and Hispanic participants because their risks of dementia or cardiovascular disease are higher. After nearly five years, the researchers did not perceive a contrast between two groups as far as disability-free survival was concerned. "Unless the cardiovascular risk is very high ( 20% over ten years), prophylactic aspirin results in more harm than good". But it had been unclear whether healthy people older than 70 would derive the same benefit. Half of those people used daily aspirin and the others did not.

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. The researchers then followed the study's participants for a median of 4.7 years.

A team of researchers from Monash University in Melbourne published their findings from a seven-year study in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, on Sunday.

Those who participated in the studies were randomly given either 100mg aspirin or a placebo - both in the form of a tablet, which they took orally.

As would be expected in older people, cancer was a common cause of death, and 50 per cent of those who died in the trial had some type of cancer.

Although the study showed obvious risks of taking aspirin, McNeil remained convinced that the drug is a relatively safe medication to use.

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 minimum age for Caucasian participants was 70 and 65 for African-American and Hispanic volunteers, due to their higher risk of dementia and cardiovascular disease.

Lead researcher Professor John McNeil, of Monash University, Australia, said the findings showed many older people may be taking the medicine "unnecessarily".

The risk is generally calculated using factors such as age, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, smoking history and other conditions such as diabetes. For adults 60 to 69, the task force recommended the decision should be made on a case-by-case basis. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has been unable to make a recommendation for those 70 and older because there is so little research on the population.

In line with known side-effects of the drug, those in the aspirin group experienced more internal bleeding, with 3.8% of those on the drug having serious medical conditions ranging from stroke to gastrointestinal bleeds, compared with 2.7% in the placebo group.

While evidence remains strong that baby aspirin therapy aids in preventing a second heart attack or stroke, the study explored whether a first heart attack can be prevented by the small amount of blood thinners in aspirin. Taking this into account, the trial also explored the effect of aspirin on survival rates without disability.

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