Low-dose aspirin medicine doing older Australians harm

Many older people taking low-dose aspirin may be doing themselves harm.

Low-dose aspirin medicine doing older Australians harm

The millions of older Australians who take low-dose aspirin daily may be doing so at the cost of their health – and their wallet – as a new study finds it has no positive effect on otherwise healthy people.

The Australian-led study found that older people with no history of heart attack or stroke who were taking low daily doses of aspirin did not significantly reduce their risk of either condition.

The seven-year Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) study examined more than 19,000 people aged 70 and over in the United States and Australia. Participants had no history of cardiovascular disease, dementia or any other disability. Each randomly received 100mg of aspirin or a placebo pill a day and were monitored for an average of 4.7 years.

Contrary to findings in countless past studies, researchers in this trial found no evidence of the medicine prolonging a healthy lifespan, nor did it reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease in healthy adults. They also found no real sign that taking aspirin can reduce the likelihood of developing dementia.

However, the study did reveal that the use of low-dose aspirin significantly increased the chance of a major haemorrhage – bleeding that could lead to a stroke.

“That’s an issue in the elderly when people’s blood vessels are a bit more fragile,” said lead researcher Professor John McNeil from Monash University.

Prof. McNeil also says the study should be a warning to healthy older Australians to reconsider taking low-dose aspirin unless they have been advised to do so by a medical professional.

The Heart Foundation says a healthy lifestyle is a far better preventative measure.

“People aged over 45 with no known coronary heart disease will benefit most from a healthy lifestyle and seeing their doctor for risk assessments such as blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels,” said a Heart Foundation spokesperson.

While many may now think to stop taking their daily dose, doctors still say they should only do so after speaking with a medical professional.

“Sometimes people don’t remember why they started taking aspirin in the first place. They may have been taking it for five to 10 years … so they should really go back and talk to their GP before they stop taking it,” said president-elect of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Dr Harry Nespolon.

Do you take low-dose aspirin each day? Have you noticed any positive effects?

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    COMMENTS

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    MICK
    17th Sep 2018
    10:05am
    The obvious question now is WHO funded the previous studies which claimed that aspirin was the panacea for preventing heart attacks. Was it the pharmaceutical companies which manufactured and/or sol aspirin?
    I smell a rat. So happy I did not follow the advice. Totally bogus by the sound of it as is much of the advice given via the media stories flogging new 'miracle' products. As always WHERE is the ACCC? At a pharmaceutical funded lavish lunch? The doctors are paid to flog these products so it would not be surprised if our failed regulator was likewise affected.
    Jim
    17th Sep 2018
    10:44am
    I take the low dose aspirin each day, I take it on the advice of my Specialist after having two heart attacks and having 3 stents inserted, I have to admit that I don’t feel any different, I thought I was in good health prior to my attack and still consider myself to be in good health, the reason I was told to take the aspirin was that it would prevent build up of cholesterol in my arteries and also to keep my blood thinner, I was also put on a statin for the same reason, so who do you listen to, at the end of the day I have to trust my GP and my specialist and hope they have got it right.
    KSS
    17th Sep 2018
    1:05pm
    Jim the report does not apply to people like you who have already had heart issues. The research is about people who have no history of heart problems (heart attacks or strokes) and have been using low dose aspirin to prevent them. The research shows healthy people taking aspirin to prevent strokes and heart attacks has not been proven to be of any benefit. Surely this is good news!
    musicveg
    17th Sep 2018
    1:24pm
    The only thing that will prevent build up of cholesterol is a wholefood plant based diet, stop eating foods heavy in cholesterol and add anti-oxidants to your diet. For more info: forksoverknives.com
    Jim
    17th Sep 2018
    2:01pm
    Yes KSS I agree it is good news, and I feel fine, some of these stories can cause a bit of concern, but I am sure I benifit from the low dose that I take.
    pedro the swift
    17th Sep 2018
    10:57am
    Yes, Jim, we want to trust our GPs etc, but where do they get their information on the use and effectiveness of various drugs from. Do you think they would do large scale studies on their patients to test this. I think not.
    They would rely on drug companies telling them what to try. Maybe some do have time to study all the literature to find out the real issue,but I doubt it.
    We really need to do our own study when prescribed any drugs to see what they really do. And its so easy now with the information available on the net.
    Jim
    17th Sep 2018
    11:10am
    I agree we should do the research, but it is difficult to understand much of the information, we should be able to rely on our doctors, they are the ones who have trained extensively to understand what makes our bodies tick, if the big pharmaceutical companies can fool our doctors into believing the medicines they are suggesting we take are good for us when they might not be, what chance do we have, it’s a bit of a dilemma but for the time being I think I will continue to follow my GP’s expert advice rather than rely on my dubious skills on the internet.
    FREDDIE
    17th Sep 2018
    11:45am
    I agree with Jim. Since having two angina episodes my specialist put me on daily low dose aspirin to thin my blood. At 70 odd years of young I much prefer to heed the advice of my, years of training and practice, cardiologist. To me it sure as hell beats following Dr Google and the nay sayers!
    KSS
    17th Sep 2018
    1:09pm
    Again Freddie, it's the use of low dose aspirin to PREVENT heart attacks and strokes in HEALTHY individuals with no history of heart problems that has been called into question. Not the therapeutic use of aspirin in those that have already experienced an event.
    musicveg
    17th Sep 2018
    1:25pm
    I don't trust GP's, they do not even study nutrition, the bases of all good health. Why are they not spruiking plant based diets which have been proven to prevent and reverse disease, because there is no money in it.
    Triss
    17th Sep 2018
    4:08pm
    I agree with you, musicveg. A friend of ours has been diagnosed with a thyroid issue and was told either tablets for life or try the results of animal free eating for three months. I’ll be interested in the state of her thyroid at the end of three months. There have been studies of animal free eating and a healthy thyroid so it’s not something plucked out of the ether.
    musicveg
    17th Sep 2018
    4:29pm
    Triss, tell your friend to get a hold of a book called "Thyroid healing" by Anthony William, can borrow from a library, buy from Book Depository, paper or digital version. She may need more than three months because it takes awhile to clear out toxins which come not only from food but personal and home cleaning products which have hormone disruptors. It takes a long time to get sick and a long time to heal properly.
    Triss
    17th Sep 2018
    9:52pm
    Thanks, musicveg, I will.
    Old Geezer
    17th Sep 2018
    11:33am
    No poisons for me just good food and exercise. I would have been dead decades ago if I had believed what doctors told me.
    musicveg
    17th Sep 2018
    1:26pm
    About the only thing I agree with you OG, more wholefoods less processed poisons.
    Rosret
    17th Sep 2018
    12:10pm
    mmm - it does thin the blood. Be careful making changes because of Google Dr's recommendations.

    17th Sep 2018
    12:15pm
    Has this study been peer reviewed? Was the original method of prescribing aspirin because of a study into the effects of taking it and was that peer reviewed. I'd like more information.
    Blossom
    17th Sep 2018
    1:05pm
    I know a person who developed clots that caused life-threatening issues 3 months after major surgery. He was normally a heavy bleeder if he got a cut or even a small scratch at all. They had to give him thinners and other medicatioon because of it. Because the Ambulance crews had to insert more than one IV drip, the hospital put in more and took blood tests his arm was bruised from just above his wrist to almost his arm pit within a week. After a couple of days and having been given consent I gave him Arnica cream to gently apply and the bruise blackness gradually reduced. He said it also helped relieve the pressure and soreness he could feel in his arm.
    musicveg
    17th Sep 2018
    1:28pm
    Arnica is amazing, I knocked my hand hard the other day, quickly ran to the arnica cream and applied, I expected to see some bruising as it really hurt, nothing except a little redness.
    KSS
    17th Sep 2018
    3:29pm
    Yes arnica can be beneficial for bruising but it is ineffective against strokes and heart attacks.
    Triss
    17th Sep 2018
    4:13pm
    We were talking about Arnica and bruising, KSS, no-one mentioned Arnica and heart attacks.
    musicveg
    17th Sep 2018
    1:29pm
    Pharmaceuticals all have side effects, good healthy wholefood doesn't, unless you eat too much.
    jackiet
    17th Sep 2018
    4:27pm
    Old Man, there is plenty of info on the ASPREE site under Scientific Overview.

    I was part of the project for 5 years but don't know yet if I was on the placebo or not. We had annual consultations, tests on memory and physical ability plus a variety of blood tests. It's good to have contributed in a small way to improving knowledge in this field.
    Marty1
    27th Oct 2018
    10:19am
    I have been taking Morphine & Fentynl patches for many years now for chronic back pain, I also take a number of other medications like Lyrica, Mogadon, Valium & some others. Are these dangerous to my long term health ? & what should I be looking out for. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Marty
    musicveg
    27th Oct 2018
    1:35pm
    Are you serious? They are all dangerous and addictive, my brother died from taking too many pain killers, because your body gets used to them and you need more and more, then your hear fails, you need help. Talk to a professional, a doctor, a naturopath, anyone who can help you get off them, try a wholefood plant based diet too. Why not google a bit and find out what these drugs are doing to you, and find a way. Also get some books by Anthony William, the medical medium. Back pain is often from your liver and kidneys being overloaded with drugs, chemicals, bad diet etc. too. And dehydration, you need to drink a lot of fluids, fresh fruit and vegies to replenish your body from the damage and drugs taking out the water in your body, good luck.
    musicveg
    27th Oct 2018
    1:36pm
    sorry about spelling mistake, should read 'your heart fails'.
    cirdan
    19th Oct 2019
    8:38am
    Marty I would suggest you ask your GP to refer you to a pain clinic as the the medications you are taking are dangerous in the long term and highly addictive. A wholefood plant based diet is a good idea but I do not believe it would be a substitute for a medically supervised pain management plan. Back pain is often neurologically based and needs to be managed accordingly. Lots of fluids, fresh fruit and vegies are good for anyone and everyone but again, not a substitute for pain management. I have a herniated disc at L4 and mange it well with rest, exercise, application of local heat, stretching exercises and very rarely I'll resort to strong medication over a very short time.
    cirdan
    19th Oct 2019
    8:28am
    What a ridiculous article. As an RN of 35 years and a victim of a heart attack I understand the that there are risks with anything you take. How would you feel any different by taking daily low dose aspirin? It's not supposed to make you feel any different! It is specifically targeting people at risk of blood clotting to minimise a heart attack, stroke(cerebral) vascular occlusion) and pulmonary(lung) vascular occlusion. You should only take it ragularly if advised by you GP. In my case both my GP and cardiologist advised me to take aspirin regularly. I also take aspirin conservatively for pain relief and yes I do feel differently then.
    cirdan
    19th Oct 2019
    9:19am
    As usual these types of articles are a magnet for the "just eat nuts and berries off the forest floor will cure everything" types. They have usually been traumatised and/or had a bad experience9or know someone) with modern medicine so they like to "toss the baby out with the bath water" and proclaim that every every pharmaceutical is part of a world wide conspiracy and of course, doctors are really in on it to. Of course good nutrition, regular exercise and plenty of sleep is good for you but modern medicine has been very highly researched and offers a lot more than what was available 50/100 years or more ago. If you want ignore modern medicine then go live in a cave and consult a shaman or go live in a third world country where they are crying out for any medicine that hasn't expired let alone a fresh piece of fruit.
    musicveg
    19th Oct 2019
    1:20pm
    Then how do you explain that humans especially children are now the sickest they have ever been? So much cancer, neurological disorders, mental illness, etc. etc. Your modern medicine is not good on prevention. Herbal and homeopathics have been around a lot longer than conventional medicines and do not get a look in. Even the Queen swears by homeopathy but does not spruik it because she has to protect the medical profession. Doctors need to train more in prevention and nutrition, and stick to what they are good at is surgery. More people are dying from pharmaceuticals then illegal drugs,
    cirdan
    19th Oct 2019
    3:25pm
    "Then how do you explain that humans especially children are now the sickest they have ever been?"

    I don't explain it because that is absolute rubbish and you have no data or research based evidence to back that up. We are living longer than ever. Where do you think we would be without the discovery of penicillin, anti-malaria drugs, current cancer treatment and modern medical investigative procedures?

    https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/essay/helping-older-people-stay-connected

    "They are also the wealthiest, most active and have the most disposable income for food, apparel and retirement programs. They are retiring later in life due to the economic recession of 2008 but are living longer than any generation before them."
    https://danschawbel.com/blog/53-of-the-most-interesting-facts-about-baby-boomers/

    "Child mortality in rich countries today is much lower than 1%. This is a very recent development and was only reached after a hundredfold decline in child mortality in these countries. In early-modern times, child mortality was very high; in 18th century Sweden every third child died, and in 19th century Germany every second child died. With declining poverty and increasing knowledge and service in the health sector, child mortality around the world is declining very rapidly: Global child mortality fell from 19% in 1960 to just below 4% in 2017; while 4% is still too high, this is a substantial achievement."
    https://ourworldindata.org/child-mortality

    Herbal and homeopathics have been around a lot longer than conventional medicines and have not been proven to be effective under scientific testing. Many anecdotal evidence supporting herbal and homeopathic but I'd prefer my GPs advice. As much as I respect the Queen I think she relies heavily on her personal physician, Prof. Huw Thomas to help her to get the age she has attained.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Huw_Thomas_(physician)
    Many doctors provide much more in terms of preventative medicine now than ever. I have worked with the medical profession and even tutored some of them as medical students at uni, during 35 years(20 as a clinical practise consultant). What is your experience of the modern health sector?
    cirdan
    19th Oct 2019
    3:58pm
    musicveg
    Perhaps you should take your herbal and homeopathic remedies to third world countries and to our indigenous population in remote areas of Australia where child mortality is high, nutrition is very poor, and their life longevity is relatively short.
    musicveg
    19th Oct 2019
    4:12pm
    I was not talking about the mortality rates of children rather that there is more cases of diseases like cancer than ever before. Maybe some improvements on health is the fact we have better hygiene, storage of food and more access to food than in history but it is not stopping the increases of sickness why? I do not need to read all the blogs, reports and so called scientific data which can often be flawed, and there is evidence that herbal and homeopathics work and there have been much research done but is often buried by big pharma to protect their financial interests. Keeping people sick is big business. Anyway no point arguing with you cirdan we are on different pages when it comes to looking after our health. I am not here to prove myself, just here to voice my opinions which I have gathered over the years, and no what has worked for me and many others. Good luck, I am unsubscribing to this topic.


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