Monash University in Australia has reported initial results from a large clinical trial (ASPREE) performed to investigate the benefits and risks of low, daily doses of aspirin in healthy people aged over 70 years.
The randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and led by the university, is being conducted in a total of 19,000 subjects in the US and Australia.
ASPREE trial showed that 100mg aspirin did not significantly decrease the risk of a first heart attack or stroke. however, it was observed that daily dose of the therapeutic does not extend disability-free life.
Meanwhile, the researchers observed a 3.8% increase in the number of serious bleeding cases among people taking aspirin, compared to 2.8% in the placebo arm.
Monash University Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine department professor John McNeil said: “Despite the fact that aspirin has been around for more than 100 years, we have not known whether healthy older people should take it as a preventive measure to keep them healthy for longer.
Professor McNeil added that the results do not apply to patients with existing disorders, such as a previous heart attack, angina or stroke. In such cases, aspirin is recommended as a good preventive medication.
In May this year, POINT trial funded by the NIH showed that a combination of aspirin and clopidogrel can reduce risk of a secondary stroke, heart attack or other ischemic event in certain stroke patients.
While previous studies indicated aspirin may prevent cancer over the longer term, ASPREE revealed a slight rise in deaths in this group. The researchers believe this requires additional analysis and follow-up.
The trial is being continued to assess further effects of daily aspirin on health of the participants.