Friday, 19 October, 2018

Aspirin doesn't reduce heart attack risk: Australian study

Aspirin tablets and a bottle Image Researchers say there is no need for healthy people to take an aspirin a day
Judith Alexander | 19 September, 2018, 20:38

"We don't want to tell anybody to stop their aspirin who's already taking it; it's a very individual decision with each patient and they should discuss it with their doctor", Dr. Margolis said.

A landmark US-Australian study has found taking aspirin daily does not improve the lifespan of people over 70, with researchers warning the costs may outweigh the benefits for healthy elderly people taking the medication to stave off various conditions. And in a separate paper, the authors reported that people who took daily aspirin were more likely to have an episode of major bleeding: 3.8 per cent of aspirin-takers had a major haemorrhage, compared to 2.8 per cent of people on placebo.

According to the study, aspirin proved ineffective for people who were suffering from high blood pressure or high cholesterol, who were on other drugs to mitigate the risk for heart diseases. Researchers at Monash University in Australia recruited almost 20,000 people in that country and the United States, with a median age of 74.

Using the help of Global Positioning System, researchers recruited 16,703 older people in Australia and 2411 in the United States, with approximately 9500 people in both the aspirin and the placebo group.

Roughly half of participants were given 100 mg of low-dose aspirin, while the rest were given a placebo.

Aspirin users also showed a higher risk of all-cause mortality (12.7 versus 11.1 per 1,000 person-years, HR 1.14, 95% CI 1.01-2.19), which was driven by cancer deaths (6.7 versus 5.1 per 1,000 person-years, HR 1.31, 95% CI 1.10-1.56).

At the end of the study, the rate of cardiovascular disease between the two groups of participants was not much different: 9,525 of those taking the aspirin had developed cardiovascular disease compared to 9,589 of those taking the placebo.

Elderly people in good health should not take an aspirin a day, according to a major study in the United States and Australia.

There's a common belief a low dose of aspirin a day helps seniors live longer, but a new study has found it does nothing of the sort.

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"If you don't need it, don't start it", McNeil said.

Taken together, the three studies acknowledge that millions of people around the world are on a daily low-dose aspirin regimen, aimed at preventing heart attack and stroke.

ASPREE is the first major prevention trial to use disability-free survival as the primary health measure.

But the trial found no benefit for healthy people over the age of 70, and the pills increased the risk of potentially fatal internal bleeding.

There is good evidence for people with known cardiovascular problems to take aspirin. On the contrary they may be grievously harmed by them.

The study enrolled volunteers who were at least 70-years-old. The investigators noted that aspirin was associated with a significantly increased risk of bleeding, primarily in the gastrointestinal tract and brain.

Researchers also looked at whether taking aspirin affected the likelihood of developing dementia, but found little difference between those who took aspirin and those who took a placebo.

Heart disease and stroke accounted for 19 per cent of the deaths and major bleeding for five per cent. That was especially unexpected given previous evidence that aspirin might reduce the risk for colorectal cancer.

In fact, daily aspirin use increased the risk of death in healthy adults, mostly from cancer.

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