"It means millions of healthy older people around the world who are taking low-dose aspirin without a medical reason may be doing so unnecessarily, because the study showed no overall benefit to offset the risk of bleeding". As new preventive opportunities arise they will typically require large clinical trials, and the structure of the Australian health system has proven an ideal setting for this type of study. Other research has demonstrated that people with a history of heart attack or stroke do benefit from taking a daily aspirin because of aspirin's anti-clotting effects.
"Bleeding is a well-known side effect of aspirin, and is more common in older people".
The ASPREE (Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) trial found an aspirin a day did not prolong life free of disability, or significantly reduce the risk of a first heart attack or stroke among participants - "with little difference found between the placebo and aspirin groups". Hemorrhagic stroke, bleeding in the brain, gastrointestinal hemorrhages or hemorrhages at other sites that required transfusion or hospitalization occurred in 361 people on aspirin and in 265 taking the placebo.
They also attributed the higher mortality in this test group to cancer-related deaths.
Partially the study competitors acquired 100 milligrams of aspirin a day and the rest of the participants secured a placebo.
Taking low-dose aspirin daily doesn't preserve good health or delay the onset of disability or dementia in healthy older people.
He said all patients should follow the advice of their doctor about their daily use of aspirin. Among those taking aspirin, 8.6 percent experienced a major bleeding episode versus 6.2 percent of those taking the placebo.
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"The trial was terminated at a median of 4.7 years of follow-up after a determination was made that there would be no benefit with continued aspirin use with regard to the primary end point", the authors noted in a report published online in the New England Journal of Medicine (one of three covering various aspects of the trial).
"The concern has been uncertainty about whether aspirin is beneficial for otherwise healthy older people without those conditions", director Dr. Richard J. Hodes of the National Institute on Aging, which partially funded the study and is part of the National Institutes of Health, said in a press release.
But the new study, known as ASPREE, looked at the long-standing question of whether a first heart attack, stroke, or case of heart failure could be prevented with small amounts of the blood thinner in aspirin.
Doctor Leslie Ford, associate director for clinical research, at the National Cancer Institute in the U.S., said: 'The increase in cancer deaths in study participants in the aspirin group was surprising, given prior studies suggesting aspirin use improved cancer outcomes.
Hadley noted only 11 percent of participants had regularly taken low-dose aspirin before entering the study.
McNeil and colleagues noted that adherence to the assigned treatment was 62.1% and 64.1% among aspirin and placebo recipients, respectively, during the final year of trial participation.
"If they have such disease in the past, they need to take the aspirin to prevent the recurrence of similar disease in the future", he said.