Daily Aspirin Linked To More Than 3000 Deaths Per Year, Scientists Warn

Daily Aspirin Linked To More Than 3000 Deaths Per Year, Scientists Warn

"You would probably be advised to stop it in your late sixties or around 70 because at that point the risks may well outweigh the benefits", he said.

Because this was an observational study, rather than a randomised trial, it was not possible to show that the increased risk is entirely caused by aspirin, although previous research has shown it does increase the risk, the researchers added.

Rothwell said he personally would not take an aspirin for primary prevention but he also said that for safety reasons no one now taking it daily should stop doing so without consulting their doctor.

Anyone with concerns should speak to a doctor before considering changing medication, they say.

The researchers, from the Centre for Prevention of Stroke and Dementia, said that "given that half of the major bleeds in patients aged 75 years or older were upper gastrointestinal, the estimated NNT for routine PPI use to prevent such bleeds is low, and co-prescription should be encouraged".

"While there is some evidence that long-term PPI use might have some small risks, this study shows that the risk of bleeding without them at older ages is high, and the consequences significant", Rothwell said in a press release.

While younger patients should be ok, elderly people must be given heartburn drugs to reduce the risk, according to the researchers.

But with around half the people on lifelong aspirin in the United Kingdom now over 75, researchers at Oxford University chose to find out whether the benefits still outweigh the risks in this group. For the younger group, the annual rate of bleeds requiring hospital admission was about 1.5 per cent compared to 3.5 per cent for 75 to 84 year olds and 5 per cent for over 85s.

Meanwhile, for people aged 75 to 84, this rose to three people having major bleeds in every 200. The risk of major bleeding, including fatal bleeds and major upper GI bleeds, increased dramatically with age.

Professor Peter Rothwell, from Oxford University, said: 'We have known for some time that aspirin increases the risk of bleeding for elderly patients.

A study done in the United Kingdom noted that approximately 40% of people over the age of 75 take daily aspirin and that lifelong aspirin treatment is a recommendation for people who have had a stroke or a heart attack.

Dr Tim Chico, heart specialist at the University of Sheffield, described the work as a well-conducted study. Heartburn medication would allow people 75 years and older to keep the precautionary advantages of aspirin while averting its risky side-effects, as was reported in the medical journal the Lancet.

"It will continue to be necessary to make decisions of a case by case basis, considering the patient's unique circumstances and medical history, as well as the medications they are already taking and how they will interact with each other".

Older people who take aspirin to prevent a recurrent cardiovascular event should take a proton-pump inhibitor to lower their risk of serious bleeding complications.

Image copyright SCIENCE PICTURE CO/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY I take aspirin every day - should I be anxious?

Why shouldn't aspirin be stopped suddenly?


A New Zealand doctor said clinicians needed to consider many factors when discussing aspirin use with older patients.

The findings are particularly important given that up to six in ten Britons aged 75 or older take it to ward off a second heart attack or stroke.

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