Landmark study to assess long-term health risks and benefits of prior aspirin use in elderly

Researchers at Monash University and the US-based Berman Center for Outcomes and Clinical Research, part of the Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute, are expanding on the landmark aspirin trial, ASPREE, with a five-year follow up study to investigate the long-term effects of low dose aspirin on the health of older people.

  • Landmark ASPREE study extended for five years to track study participants for long-term health outcomes after discontinuing aspirin.
  • ASPREE-XT will investigate the long-term health in people over 70 (65 years in the US) following conclusion of ASPREE (low dose aspirin vs placebo) in 2017.
  • Researchers will continue to monitor for cancer, dementia, cardiovascular health, physical disability, depression and frailty.
  • ASPREE-XT will also investigate the impact that medical conditions, lifestyle, the environment and genetics have on health and ageing.
  • More than 15,000 study participants in Australia and the US.

Researchers at Monash University and the US-based Berman Center for Outcomes and Clinical Research, part of the Hennepin Healthcare Research Institute, are expanding on the landmark aspirin trial, ASPREE, with a five-year follow up study to investigate the long-term effects of low dose aspirin on the health of older people.

The world-first ASPREE-XT (eXTension) study will track the health of more than 15,000 participants in Australia and the US, following an average period of almost five years on daily low dose aspirin or a placebo tablet in the ASPREE trial.

Researchers will assess health impacts after prolonged aspirin use on cancer, dementia, cardiovascular health, physical disability, depression and other aspects of ageing including frailty.

ASPREE-XT also aims to identify the impact that medical conditions, lifestyle, the environment and genetics have on health and ageing, providing an unprecedented window into an ageing population.

Principal investigator in Australia, Professor John McNeil, of Monash University’s Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, said ASPREE-XT would contribute high quality research to understand factors that affect quality of life and independence for older people.

“ASPREE-XT builds on many millions of individual items of health data collected in the ASPREE study, providing a rare opportunity to investigate the effects of aspirin and other factors on the health of older people,” Professor McNeil said.

“Importantly, ASPREE-XT will also help identify factors that contribute to onset of disease in older people and explain why some people become frail and disabled while others do not.”

Professor McNeil said ASPREE-XT will be one of the largest observational studies conducted in Australia with the help of over 2000 general practitioners across south-eastern Australia.

“Life-expectancy has increased globally and ASPREE-XT will continue to answer questions of daily relevance for GPs caring for their older patients,” Professor McNeil said.

“The collection of this important health information is of great benefit to society, and through ASPREE-XT we are grateful that our participants continue to contribute data.”

ASPREE-XT is funded by the US National Institutes of Health.

For more information visit www.aspree.org.

About ASPREE (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly)

ASPREE was a world-first clinical trial of low dose aspirin for primary prevention in the elderly. Study findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine in September 2018 were adopted into the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association aspirin guidelines in March 2019. 

The ASPREE study was recently the recipient of the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA) Clinical Trial of the Year Award for its impact on public health.