Aspirin may be risky for older healthy adults, research suggests

Long Lunch 18/09/2018
Photo: Getty.

Taking a daily aspirin may not be the fountain of youth it’s been cracked up to be, according to new research.

A series of research articles determined that older healthy adults taking aspirin could be more prone to a major haemorrhage or even mortality.

“As we get older our risk of bleeding increases. And that’s the main side effect of aspirin,” said Dr Robyn Woods, executive officer of the trial.

The research, released in the New England Journal of Medicine, looked at over 19,000 healthy adults over 70 in order to determine whether the benefits outweighed the consequences of long-term aspirin use.

“There was no overall benefit that was greater than the risk of taking aspirin,” Dr Woods told RadioLIVE.

The five-year study also found that a daily 100 mg dose did not significantly reduce the risk of heart disease.

Even more, participants who took a daily aspirin were found to have a slightly higher mortality rate than those taking the placebo. Deaths among those who took aspirin were attributed primarily to cancer.

Despite this, Dr Woods emphasised that aspirin is still a very useful drug for those who’ve experienced a heart attack or stroke.

While long-term aspirin users may be tempted to quit cold-turkey, Dr Woods advises speaking to a medical professional before ditching the habit once and for all.

“Although this is an outcome from a large population study, it has to be taken into account with the individuals’ other health issues.”

Participants in the study were all free of cardiovascular disease, dementia, and disability.

Listen to the full interview with Robyn Woods above.

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.