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Findings continue to impact aspirin guidelines

Apr 28, 2022

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.

Photo of ASPREE U.S. Principal Investigator, Dr Anne Murray

Above: Principal Investigator to the ASPREE Trial in the U.S., Dr Anne Murray.

“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.



Further reading:

Lay summary:

Jin J. Use of Aspirin to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease. JAMA. 2022;327(16):1624. doi:10.1001/jama.2022.5564


US Preventive Services Task Force. Aspirin Use to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease: US Preventive Services Task Force Recommendation Statement. JAMA. 2022;327(16):1577–1584. doi:10.1001/jama.2022.4983

Guirguis-Blake JM, Evans CV, Perdue LA, Bean SI, Senger CA. Aspirin Use to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease and Colorectal Cancer: Updated Evidence Report and Systematic Review for the US Preventive Services Task Force. JAMA. 2022;327(16):1585–1597. doi:10.1001/jama.2022.3337

Dehmer SP, O’Keefe LR, Evans CV, Guirguis-Blake JM, Perdue LA, Maciosek MV. Aspirin Use to Prevent Cardiovascular Disease and Colorectal CancerUpdated Modeling Study for the US Preventive Services Task ForceJAMA. 2022;327(16):1598–1607. doi:10.1001/jama.2022.3385


Mora S, Shufelt CL, Manson JE. Whom to Treat for Primary Prevention of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease: The Aspirin Dilemma. JAMA Intern Med. Published online April 26, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2022.1365

Brett AS. Should Patients Take Aspirin for Primary Cardiovascular Prevention? Updated Recommendations From the US Preventive Services Task Force. JAMA. 2022;327(16):1552–1554. doi:10.1001/jama.2022.2460

Lloyd-Jones DM. USPSTF Report on Aspirin for Primary Prevention. JAMA Cardiol. Published online April 26, 2022. doi:10.1001/jamacardio.2022.0935

Berger JS. Aspirin for Primary Prevention—Time to Rethink Our Approach. JAMA Netw Open. 2022;5(4):e2210144. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.10144

Author Interview:  USPSTF Recommendation: Aspirin Use for Cardiovascular Disease

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