Clinical Research

Randomised trial of prophylactic daily aspirin in British male doctors

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988; 296 doi: (Published 30 January 1988) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988;296:313
  1. R Peto,
  2. R Gray,
  3. R Collins,
  4. K Wheatley,
  5. C Hennekens,
  6. K Jamrozik,
  7. C Warlow,
  8. B Hafner,
  9. E Thompson,
  10. S Norton,
  11. J Gilliland,
  12. R Doll


    A six year randomised trial was conducted among 5139 apparently healthy male doctors to see whether 500 mg aspirin daily would reduce the incidence of and mortality from stroke, myocardial infarction, or other vascular conditions. Though total mortality was 10% lower in the treated than control group, this difference was not statistically significant and chiefly involved diseases other than stroke or myocardial infarction. Likewise, there was no significant difference in the incidence of non-fatal myocardial infarction or stroke—indeed, disabling strokes were somewhat commoner among those allocated aspirin. The lower confidence limit for the effect of aspirin on non-fatal stroke or myocardial infarction, however, was a substantial 25% reduction. Migraine and certain types of musculoskeletal pain were reported significantly less often in the treated than control group, but as the control group was not given a placebo the relevance of these findings was difficult to assess. There was no apparent reduction in the incidence of cataract in the treated group.

    The lack of any apparent reduction in disabling stroke or vascular death contrasts with the established value of antiplatelet treatment after occlusive vascular disease.

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