HealthDay News — A subgroup analysis of the ASPREE trial could not conclusively demonstrate clear harm or benefit of either cessation or continuation of aspirin in older adults who regularly use aspirin without a clinical indication for its use, according to a research letter published online in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Mark R. Nelson, MBBS, PhD, from the University of Tasmania in Hobart, and colleagues performed a post-hoc analysis of participants from the ASPREE trial to examine the effect of aspirin cessation vs continuation among individuals aged 70 years or older who reported taking aspirin 2 or more days per week at trial enrollment. Participants were randomly assigned to either placebo (cessation) or aspirin (continuation). A composite of all-cause mortality, incident dementia, or persistent physical disability was assessed as the primary outcome.

The researchers found that 11% of the 19,114 recruited participants reported aspirin use before trial entry, and of these participants, 1714 reported taking aspirin 2 or more days per week. During a median follow-up of 4.9 years, there was weak evidence of an increased risk for the primary outcome for aspirin cessation vs continuation; this finding seemed to be confined to non-White participants. The primary end point was experienced by 13.8% and 11.1% in the cessation and continuation groups, respectively (incidence rate, 28.8 vs 23.4 per 1000 person years); the hazard ratio was 1.28 (95% CI, 0.98 to 1.68). Among those taking aspirin for 5 years or longer, aspirin cessation appeared to increase cardiovascular disease events, although it was not associated with secondary end points.


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“At this time, a pragmatic recommendation may be to consider aspirin cessation in those with a large medication burden with due caution,” the authors write.

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This article originally appeared on MPR