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Video: Taking Aspirin Daily Does Not Prolong Life In Older People
Taking aspirin daily does not prolong life in older people
The millions of healthy people who receive aspirin to prevent heart disease in old age are unlikely to benefit from the drug, new research shows.
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The millions of healthy people who receive aspirin to prevent heart disease in old age are unlikely to benefit from the drug, new research shows. A series of scientific papers published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Taking this blood-thinning medication daily may protect older people who have had a heart attack or stroke. But scientists have found that the drug does not extend the life of healthy (not exposed to cardiovascular events) people over the age of 70.
Australian and American doctors recruited more than 19,000 older adults with no previous history of heart attacks or strokes in their study. Most of them were over 70 years old before the study. Half of the participants received 100 grams of aspirin every day, the other half were given a placebo.
The elderly were monitored for about five years. Doctors found that, compared to a placebo, taking daily aspirin did not reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, nor did it add years of life without dementia and physical disability.
At the same time, 3.8% of people in the aspirin group had gastrointestinal bleeding, heart attacks, and strokes. In the placebo group, this figure was 2.7%.
“Even though aspirin has been used for over 100 years, we didn’t know if healthy older adults should take it as a prophylaxis to increase their longevity,” said John McNeil of Monash University in Melbourne.
He added that millions of healthy elderly people around the world are now taking low-dose aspirin unnecessarily.
Doctors unexpectedly found that those who received aspirin were slightly more likely to die during the study (5.9%) than those who took placebo (5.2%). Many additional deaths have been due to cancer, but experts are calling for these findings to be treated with caution.
“The slight increase in overall mortality primarily from cancer, including bowel cancer, is an unexpected find. Previously, some studies have shown that aspirin does not increase but decreases the incidence of bowel cancer. The authors are careful to maintain a cautious tone when pointing out unexpected effects,”says Stephen Evans, professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
We previously reported that scientists believe that today's doses of aspirin are not suitable for all patients and that experts are questioning the drug's ability to prevent the first case of heart attack or stroke.
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