Health Care

Think twice before starting to take daily aspirin

Think twice before starting to take daily aspirin”

But a new Australian-led study has found that's not the case. This means that a daily dose of aspirin did not have any significant benefit in supporting the lifestyle of healthy seniors.

The study involved more than 19,000 people ages 65 and older in the United States and Australia.

So yes, don't pop aspirin if you are healthy.

Contrary to popular belief, an aspirin-a-day may not quite work as a preventive in older people who have not had a heart attack.

For patients with a history of heart attack or stroke, previous research is clear and has shown that the benefits of daily aspirin use outweigh the risks. They were followed for an average of 4.7 years to determine outcomes. They noted however the escalated rate of bleeding in the team that accrued aspirin, as compared to the team that accrued a placebo.

Rates of cardiovascular events, such as coronary heart disease, non-fatal heart attacks and strokes, were similar across both groups, the study found. The difference was attributed nearly entirely to cancer, a leading killer of older people, and not internal bleeding. Hemorrhagic stroke, bleeding in the brain, gastrointestinal bleeding and bleeding in other sites that required transfusion or hospitalization occurred in 361, or 3.8 percent, of participant in the aspirin-treated group and 265, or 2.7 percent, of those in the placebo group.

Professor 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.

However, there's not been enough medical evidence to say whether aspirin would help elderly folks, the USPSTF says.

"We found there was no evidence that aspirin did healthy people any good in terms of living longer, remaining free of disability for longer, or preventing cardiovascular disease", he said.

While it was speculated that pre-existing cancers may have interacted with the aspirin, the exact reason was not established.

The results of the study, led by John McNeil of Monash University in Melbourne, were released Sunday in three articles in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"Many people are taking aspirin for important medical reasons", McNeil said.

"Interpretation of these results should take into account the lower-than-expected rate of cardiovascular disease among the trial participants. most likely reflecting the relatively good health of the participant population at recruitment and the declining rate of cardiovascular disease in the two countries over time and across all age groups", the investigators suggested.

However anybody who is taking aspirin should speak to their prescriber before ceasing the medication, says AMA president Dr Tony Bartone.

Professor McNeil said all patients should follow the advice of their doctor about their daily use of aspirin. Patients now get statins to lower cholesterol and anti-hypertensive medications to lower blood pressure. Sure, it can help your headache, but aspirin can also prevent heart attacks, strokes, maybe even cancer, maybe even dementia.

It was first synthesised in 1898, and since the 1960s has been known to lower the risk of heart attack and stroke among those who had previously experienced heart disease or stroke.

"In the end the answer to the question can be boiled down to a simple proposition: "if you are elderly and don't need it, don't take it".

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