If you are a healthy older person and take a low-dose aspirin every day, it may be more harmful than you think.
A large clinical trial involving participants in Australia and the USA found a daily low-dose aspirin had no effect on prolonging life in healthy, elderly people. It also showed a higher rate of suffering from a major hemorrhage.
Results from the trial were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Over a four-year span starting in 2010, the trial enrolled more than 19,000 people in Australia and the USA who were 70 and older, or 65 for African-American and Hispanic participants because their risks of dementia or cardiovascular disease are higher. The participants did not have cardiovascular disease, dementia or a physical disability.
Roughly half of participants were given 100 mg of low-dose aspirin, while the rest were given a placebo.
The results showed the aspirin had no effect on whether people would suffer from dementia or a disability. 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. Rates of people who suffered from disability and dementia were nearly the same.
Researchers found people taking the aspirin showed a significantly higher risk of bleeding, such as hemorrhages.
“This study shows why it is so important to conduct this type of research so that we can gain a fuller picture of aspirin’s benefits and risks among healthy older persons,” Richard Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging, said in a statement.
Researchers said the results don’t apply to people prescribed low-dose aspirin after suffering a stroke, heart attack or other form of cardiovascular disease.
“These findings will help inform prescribing doctors who have long been uncertain about whether to recommend aspirin to healthy patients who do not have a clear medical reason for doing so,” John McNeil, head of the Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine at Monash University in Australia, said in a statement.