Daily Low-dose Aspirin has No Effect on Lifespan in Older People

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Our findings mean millions of healthy people over the age of 70, and their doctors, will now know daily aspirin is not the answer to prolonging good health.

"For healthy people, 70 and older, who don't have a reason to be on aspirin, such as a previous heart attack or stroke, there was no discernible benefit", Murray told NBC News.

The Monash University-lead ASPREE (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) trial, involving more than 19,000 patients in Australia and the USA, found that one 100mg aspirin a day did not prolong life free of disability, and did not significantly reduce the risk of a first heart attack or stroke among healthy participants.

Three reports in the New England Journal of Medicine showed the pills did not reduce their risk of heart problems or have any other benefits.

Aspirin has been touted as preventing heart attacks and strokes in people with vascular conditions such as coronary artery disease.

The study was of 19,114 people in the United States and Australia in good health, with no history of heart problems and over the age of 70.

Those who had not previously suffered a stroke or heart attack and did not take aspirin were more likely to live longer.

Around half of the participants took a 100mg low dose of aspirin daily, while the others were given a placebo. Aspirin intake is associated with increased bleeding tendencies. The trial found 90.3 percent of the people who took aspirin remained alive with no persistent physical disability or dementia, compared with 90.5 percent of people on the placebo.

"The risk of death from any cause was 12.7 events per 1000 person-years in the aspirin group and 11.1 events per 1000 person-years in the placebo group (hazard ratio, 1.14; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01 to 1.29)", the authors wrote.

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

"That's an issue in the elderly when people's blood vessels are a bit more fragile", Professor McNeil said.

Doctors have long recommended a low dose of aspirin to protect against a second or third heart attack, but researchers in Australia found there was no benefit for healthy seniors. The difference was attributed nearly entirely to cancer, a leading killer of older people, and not internal bleeding.

"Bleeding is a well-known side effect of aspirin, and is more common in older people". There's also a possibility that any colorectal cancer benefit wasn't seen because the subjects had only been followed for about five years.

He was keen to participate in the aspirin study when his GP asked him to take part. "Major hemorrhage events primarily involved upper gastrointestinal and intracranial bleeding".

Dr. Margolis said they've only just begun to scratch the surface of what they could learn about the long term effects of aspirin on people over the age of 70.

As these efforts continue, Hadley emphasized that older adults should follow the advice from their own physicians about daily aspirin use. Prescribing aspirin to healthy people to prevent the onset of heart disease is controversial although it happens.

This is the first clinical study to focus on older people.

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

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