ASPREE (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) Research study is an international clinical trial to determine whether daily low-dose aspirin can prevent or delay the onset of age-related illness such as cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke), dementia, depression and certain cancers. It is the largest primary prevention aspirin study ever undertaken in healthy older people.
The trial has involved 19,114 healthy participants in urban, regional and rural locations throughout Australia and the United States.
Can aspirin prolong good health?
Previous studies have shown that low-dose aspirin:
- Reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke and vascular events in middle aged people
- May help to prevent cognitive decline, depression and forms of cancer such as bowel cancer
However, aspirin is known to have adverse-effects, such as bleeding, that may offset its benefits.
The outcome of the trial?
- If aspirin is shown to be of overall benefit, millions of healthy older people around the world will be advised to take aspirin.
- If aspirin is shown not to be of benefit, then many older people may be taking an unnecessary medication.
ASPREE found low dose (100 mg) aspirin did not prolong life free of disability, or significantly reduce the risk of a first heart attack or stroke in healthy people aged 70 plus, over the duration of the trial. The overall benefit (on life free of disability) did not offset the increased risk of bleeding, a known side-effect of aspirin.
According to Principal investigator Professor John McNeil, Head of Monash University’s Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, the results of the trial will result in a rethinking of global guidelines relating to the use of aspirin to prevent common conditions associated with ageing.
The researchers will continue to follow the health of the participants through an extension study, ASPREE-XT, to determine whether beneficial effects of aspirin, such as cancer prevention, emerge sometime after taking the drug. Researchers will also investigate other opportunities to improve the health of senior citizens. Researchers expect to release more findings from the ASPREE trial in the near future.
Please note: ASPREE’s findings relate ONLY to healthy older people, aged over 70 years, and do not apply to those taking aspirin on medical advice, for example those who have had a heart attack or stroke. Consult your GP before changing your aspirin regime.
Lead Investigator in Australia
Professor John McNeil is the lead investigator in Australia and is responsible for designing and planning the ASPREE Study at Monash University and he oversees the central coordination of all Australian ASPREE sites and sub-studies to ensure progress of the trial.