ASPREE and US aspirin guidelines

Jun 3, 2016

Researchers cite ASPREE to inform aspirin guidelines in older adults


International researchers anticipate findings from the ASPREE study will help fill a knowledge gap that led to the exclusion of older people from recent U.S. aspirin guidelines. Several articles in the Annals of Internal Medicine, which cited or discussed the ASPREE study, were published alongside the release of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) final recommendations on aspirin and disease prevention.

Lack of Evidence:

The USPSTF found a shortage of high quality scientific studies meant they could not fully determine the balance of benefits and risks of aspirin for the prevention of cardiovascular disease (CVD) such as heart attack and stroke, and colorectal cancer (CRC) in people aged 70 years and older.
“There is not enough available evidence on the benefits and harms of aspirin use in adults younger than age 50 and those 70 or older to recommend for or against its use in preventing CVD and CRC.” USPSTF consumer guide said.

Peer-reviewed response:

To coincide with the release of the USPSTF findings, several international researchers published papers which cited the ASPREE study to help address the knowledge gap:

Editorial by Oxford University Professor Colin Baigent in the Annal of Internal Medicine, highlighted the importance of research on health recommendations, “..we should not rush to judgement with inadequate data. Instead, we should encourage completion (and long-term follow-up) of the ongoing trials so that the quality of the evidence in future years provides a firm foundation for public policy.”

Who was included in the recommendations?

The USPSTF found sufficient evidence to find aspirin could help prevent CVD and CRC in people aged 50 to 69 years who are at increased risk of developing CVD.

The American Academy of Family Physicians has adopted the USPSTF’s aspirin recommendations. Results from the ASPREE study are expected in 2018.

Anyone considering taking daily aspirin should always speak to their GP beforehand.

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