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Daily aspirin doesn’t prevent deaths or disability in healthy older people, trial finds

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 16 September 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3923
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. London, UK

Daily, low dose aspirin is not associated with a significant reduction in death, dementia, or persistent physical disability in healthy people aged 70 or over, a randomised trial1 that also found increased risk of major haemorrhage has shown.2

“The results provide the most reliable evidence on the balance of risk and benefit of starting aspirin after the age of 70 in healthy people,” said Peter Rothwell, professor of neurology and head of the Centre for the Prevention of Stroke and Dementia at the University of Oxford. He added, “There were too few people in the over 70 age group in previous trials to draw reliable conclusions.”

Several studies have shown the benefits of low dose aspirin for people with a history of coronary heart disease, but the evidence for primary prevention in healthy older people has been inconclusive. Guidelines do not recommend this treatment even though it is widely used by elderly people. …

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