Intake Of Low Dose Of Aspirin Results In Risks Exceeding Benefits

The clinical trial did not include people who take aspirin for medical reasons as advised by their doctor, including those who have already suffered a heart attack or stroke.

When the participants were followed up almost five years later, doctors found that compared with the placebo, a daily aspirin had not reduced the risk of heart attack or stroke, or prolonged the number of years people lived without dementia or physical disabilities. Additionally, higher death rates were reported among those taking aspirin daily although the researchers are skeptical about how much weight to put on the finding since it's an unexpected outcome compared to similar studies.

The treatment was given for five years and the rate of heart diseases was not much lower in the 9,525 volunteers taking 100 mg of aspirin daily than in the 9,589 who took placebo tablets.

"After a median of 4.7 years of follow-up, the rate of cardiovascular disease was 10.7 events per 1000 person years in the aspirin group and 11.3 events per 1000 person years in the placebo group".

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.

Lead researcher Professor John McNeil, of Monash University, Australia, said the findings show many older people may be taking the medicine "unnecessarily". The minimum age for Caucasian participants was 70 and 65 for African-American and Hispanic volunteers, due to their higher risk of dementia and cardiovascular disease.

The big difference between the groups was in the rate of internal bleeding.

"Cancer was the major contributor to the higher mortality in the aspirin group, accounting for 1.6 excess deaths per 1000 person-years".

Six strawberry brands recalled as $100,000 reward offered to catch needle saboteur
On Thursday, the Queensland Strawberry Growers' Association said the needles may have been placed by a "disgruntled employee". Queensland is a major strawberry producer in a national industry worth more than A$130 million ($93.22 million) a year.

However the authors said the small increase in deaths, primarily from cancer, requires further investigation and may be coincidental.

The trial follows in the heels of other major studies offering mixed-to-negative data on aspirin for primary prevention, most recently ASCEND and ARRIVE in diabetes and moderate-risk patients, respectively (both were recently presented at the European Society of Cardiology meeting).

"But we have not identified results that are strikingly different", McNeil said in an email.

For those who had previously survived a cardiovascular event, regular aspirin was beneficial, the study found. McNeil added it was important to focus on this cohort because aspirin is used by healthy, older people in the hopes that it will keep them well, with some even taking it without a prescription from their physician.

Other large aspirin studies have suggested that aspirin may prevent cancer over the longer term.

People are prescribed aspirin after a heart attack or stroke because the drug thins the blood and reduces the chances of a repeat attack.

"Some of them will say, 'if it ain't broke don't fix it, '" predicted Huffman, an associate professor of preventive medicine in the division of cardiology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine and a cardiologist at Northwestern Medicine.

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