Daily aspirin doses are more harmful than you think – new report

Daily aspirin doses are more harmful than you think – new report

Elderly people in good health should not be taking their daily aspirin doses, according to a major study in the US and Australia.

Taking aspirin every day may cause pensioners more harm the good, a major new study has concluded.

For decades, a daily dose of aspirin has been widely considered a way to protect healthy people from cardiovascular disease and even cancer. But a large, new, international study finds that, even at low doses, long-term use of aspirin may be harmful — without providing benefit — for older people who have not already had a heart attack or stroke.

Research into nearly 20,000 older people found those who were generally healthy derived no protective benefit from the blood-thinning pill – but it increased their risk of dangerous bleeds.

Half were given a daily low-dose aspirin for five years. Three reports in the New England Journal of Medicine showed the pills did not reduce their risk of heart problems or have any other benefits. They did, however, increase the number of major stomach bleeds.

Prof John McNeil, from Monash University, says “It means millions of healthy older people around the world who are taking low dose aspirin without a medical reason, may be doing so unnecessarily, because the study showed no overall benefit to offset the risk of bleeding.”

Professor Stephen Evans, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said: “The small benefit on heart disease was outweighed by overall increases in other diseases and suggests that in healthy older people without heart disease there is no benefit to low-dose aspirin.”

Scientists have expressed surprise that overall death rates were higher among people in the study taking aspirin, a finding not seen in previous research.

And anybody who has been taking low-dose aspirin for a long time is advised not to stop overnight as that may also cause problems. Instead, they should discuss any concerns with their GP, says Prof Peter Rothwell, of Oxford University, a leading expert on the drug.



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