Regular use of aspirin among the geriatric population may not alleviate the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, according to a new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study, known as the ASPREE, was jointly conducted by Monash University in Melbourne and the US Berman Centre for Outcomes and Clinical Research. The study took nearly five years to arrive at the findings. Healthcare experts are of the opinion that the study can have wider ramifications for both patients and healthcare providers.
The study included over 19,000 participants from Australia and the US – a majority of the participants were from Down Under. The participants were older than 65 years, and only a miniscule percentage had previous history of cardiovascular disease or stroke. Although the study did not rule out the benefits for geriatric population with a history of cardiovascular disease or stroke, it did not find any health benefits for people who take aspirin as a preventative medicine. On the contrary, the study found that regular use of aspirin among the elderly can increase the risk of serious bleeding, a common condition associated with aging. The group of participants on a placebo had significantly lower risk of serious bleeding.
Aspirin has been used for decades as an over-the-counter medicine for headaches; however, it is usually prescribed by doctors all around the world for its perceived benefits in reducing blood clots. It has been prescribed to patients who are at risk of heart disease or stroke. However, the study found no health benefit of an-aspirin-a-day to the elderly who had no history of cardiovascular disease or stroke.
The findings of the study are important for both healthcare providers and the elderly population. A significant percentage of geriatric population currently buy aspirin without a prescription or doctor’s advice, believing that the regular low-dose will help them in staving off ailments associated with aging. However, the findings of the comprehensive study are likely to make everyone have a serious rethink on this approach.
The findings of the study are not applicable to adults below the age of 65. Further, the participants included whites, blacks, and Hispanics who had no history of cardiovascular disease, so the study doesn’t comment on daily aspirin use among adults who have chronic cardiovascular condition, or have suffered a stroke. Further, only a minority of participants in the study had taken low-dose aspirin before becoming available for the study, it is important that healthy older adults who are currently using aspirin consult with their doctors before discontinuing cold turkey.