U.S. medical expert group latest to cite ASPREE results in guidelines
Major findings from the ASPREE trial have been adopted into influential US Preventive Services Taskforce (USPSTF) new medical aspirin guidelines.
The USPSTF recently announced a new recommendation against older adults, aged over 60, starting low-aspirin to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD; i.e. diseases of the heart and blood vessels).
ASPREE Principal Investigator in the U.S., Dr. Anne Murray, said USPSTF recommendations were based on a review of global scientific evidence into the benefits and risks of aspirin use.
“The new USPSTF aspirin guidelines for healthy older adults now closely reflect the findings of ASPREE, “ said Dr. Murray.
ASPREE, a world-first aspirin trial in 19,114 healthy older adults in Australia and the US, released its findings to international acclaim in 2018.
Shortly after, the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association incorporated ASPREE findings into revised primary prevention aspirin guidelines, recommending against aspirin for primary prevention* in adults aged 70 and over.
Guidelines are used by doctors and patients to manage health care.
A statement on the USPSTF website explained the taskforce’s new recommendation: “The magnitude of the harms (of aspirin) is small overall but increases in older age groups, particularly in adults older than 60 years…. The USPSTF concludes with moderate certainty that initiating aspirin use for the primary prevention of CVD events in adults 60 years or older has no net benefit.”
Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in Australia and the US.
The USPSTF did not recommend aspirin to prevent colorectal cancer, citing the need for more evidence.
Dr. Murray said the current lack of evidence for cancer highlights the importance of ASPREE-XT, ASPREE’s follow up study, that will examine the effect of aspirin on colorectal cancer in older adults over the longer term.
Dr. Murray added that the new USPSTF aspirin recommendations only apply to people who do not have a medical reason to take aspirin.
“The use of low-dose aspirin for secondary prevention, such as after a heart attack, should continue,” said Dr. Murray. “Speak to your primary care physician for individual advice before starting or stopping daily low-dose aspirin.”
*Primary prevention is a therapy or treatment to prevent the first episode of a disease or health event from occurring, such as a heart attack or stroke.
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Author Interview: USPSTF Recommendation: Aspirin Use for Cardiovascular Disease