Research finds aspirin intake does not reduce heart attack or stroke risk

A seven-year study held in more than 19,000 older people from the US and Australia found that daily intake of aspirin daily does not cut down the chances of heart attack or stroke and neither does it have any benefit in prolonging life free of disability.

The study was headed by Monash University in Australia and the Berman Center for Outcomes and Clinical Research in the US.

Aspirin and its compounds have been known to be used for treating pain from the 16th century BC when people chewed bark of willow and papyrus.

Acetylsalicylic acid, which is better known as Aspirin, was first synthesized in 1898. Since the 1960s, aspirin has been thought to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack in people who had previous history of stroke or heart disease.

Since then healthy people had been of the impression that this protective capacity of aspirin can be used to prevent first heart attack or stroke although without any evidence supporting its use.

Research finds aspirin does not reduce heart attack or stroke risk.
Research finds aspirin does not reduce heart attack or stroke risk. Image courtesy of Melissa

According to three studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that daily low-dose aspirin – 100mg when used in healthy geriatrics from age 70, showed no signs of benefit in extending their life free of disability or in preventing the risk of getting first heart attack or stroke.

The seven-year study named as ASPREE (Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) revealed that low dose aspirin is not beneficial for prolonging healthy life or in preventing the first heart attack or stroke with slight difference between aspirin and placebo groups.

The major side-effect of Aspirin that was observed is bleeding and in the study it was revealed that there will be slight increase in cases of serious bleeding up to 3.8% in aspirin takers than those who took placebo, which was at 2.8%.

Professor John McNeil – head of Monash University’s Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, commenting on the ASPREE study, said: “Despite the fact that aspirin has been around for more than 100 years, we still didn’t know whether older people should take it for disease prevention, to keep them healthy for longer – ASPREE has provided that answer,” Professor McNeil said.

“These findings will help inform prescribing doctors who have long been uncertain about whether to recommend aspirin to healthy patients who do not have a clear medical reason for doing so.”