Published: Wed, September 19, 2018
Health Care | By Oscar Goodwin

Stop Popping Aspirin if You Have No Health Issues. It Doesn’t Help

Stop Popping Aspirin if You Have No Health Issues. It Doesn’t Help

The researchers are not recommending that if you are healthy and taking daily aspirin you should necessarily stop.

Lead researcher Professor John McNeil, of Monash University, Australia, said the study proves many older people may be taking the medicine "unnecessarily".

Researchers have noted that the results only apply to those over 70 years of age who are otherwise healthy and not to those with existing conditions such as a previous heart attack, angina or stroke, where aspirin is recommended as a valuable preventive drug. Researchers at Monash University in Australia engaged nearly 20,000 people in the country and in U.S. with an average age of 74.

This was one finding from our seven-year study that included more than 19,000 older people from Australia and the US.

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Each of the participants was advised to take 100 milligrams of aspirin daily or a placebo pill.

Those that took aspirin were also at 'significantly ' increased risk of bleeding, primarily in the gastrointestinal tract and brain, it was revealed. In a third paper, they reported that 3.1 per cent of people died from cancer in the aspirin group, compared to 2.3 per cent of people in the placebo group. That finding needs more study before any conclusions can be drawn, the authors cautioned. Aspirin might still help some middle-aged people younger than 65, or it could have longer-reaching benefits for the elderly that would take more years to pay off, such as preventing dementia (in the current study, though, there was no difference in the dementia rate).

"We found there was no discernible benefit of aspirin on prolonging independent, healthy life for the elderly", says Anne Murray, a geriatrician and epidemiologist at Hennepin Healthcare in Minneapolis, who helped lead the study.

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

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The study was funded largely by the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Australian National Health and Medical Council, Victorian Cancer Agency and Monash University. "If you look at the new findings, at best it's neutral and at worst it increases the bleeding risk". In fact, it's estimated that millions of people around the world now take a daily low-dose of aspirin as a preventative. You should rather ask your doctor for guidance on which steps you will need to take going forward. The study confirmed that a daily baby aspirin increases the risk for serious, potentially life-threatening bleeding.

Dr Richard Hodes, director of the National Institute on Ageing said: "Clinical guidelines note the benefits of aspirin for preventing heart attacks and strokes in persons with vascular conditions such as coronary artery disease". On the contrary they may be grievously harmed by them.

Doctor Leslie Ford, associate director for clinical research, at the National Cancer Institute in the USA, said: 'The increase in cancer deaths in study participants in the aspirin group was surprising, given prior studies suggesting aspirin use improved cancer outcomes.

"I am confident this is an important result and will have great benefit to the older people of the world", Mr Holloway said.

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As these efforts continue, Hadley emphasized that older adults should follow the advice from their own physicians about daily aspirin use.

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