ASPIRIN and HEALTH
Based on quality evidence, doctors prescribe daily low-dose aspirin to people who have had a heart attack or stroke to help prevent that event from reoccurring. This is known as ‘secondary prevention’. ASPREE was a clinical trial to determine whether aspirin helped older people to live well for longer by delaying the onset of illnesses in the first place (called ‘primary prevention’) and if the benefits outweighed potential adverse effects of aspirin, such as bleeding.
ASPREE and the follow up ASPREE-XT study, will determine for the first time, aspirin’s short term and longer term effects in healthy older people.
THE ASPREE (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) STUDY:
March 2010 – January 2018
ASPREE was an international clinical trial to determine whether daily low-dose aspirin increased survival, free of dementia or physical disability for healthy older people. The randomised, double blind, placebo-controlled trial was the first to investigate aspirin’s benefit versus risk in healthy older people without a history of cardiovascular disease, dementia or significant physical disability.
In 2018, the bi-national trial found that over an average of 4.7 years, aspirin did not prolong life free of persistent physical disability or dementia (disability free survival) in 19,114 healthy community dwelling people, most aged 70 years or older. Aspirin did not significantly reduce the risk of heart attacks or strokes, but the risk of serious bleeding among the aspirin takers was increased compared to the placebo group.
The main ASPREE study results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in September 2018. These findings, for the first time provided clinicians with scientific evidence of the benefits and risks of aspirin for disease prevention in healthy older people. Read the National Institute on Aging (NIA) announcement of the main ASPREE study results. Download Q&As about ASPREE study findings here. More results from ASPREE are expected to be published this year.
THE ASPREE-XT (eXTension) STUDY:
January 2018 – 2023
ASPREE-XT (eXTension) is a follow up study in ASPREE participants to determine whether those in the aspirin group, compared to the placebo group, have different health outcomes such as for cancer, dementia, frailty and other conditions of ageing, over the longer term. The longer term effect of aspirin on health needs to be studied further because diseases such as cancer and dementia develop over an extended period of time and may not have been apparent during the ASPREE trial.
ASPREE-XT is led by the Berman Center for Outcomes and Clinical Research – Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute in the US and Monash University in Australia and is undertaken through clinics and the community in the US and across south-eastern Australia.