Principal Investigator to ASPREE (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) Professor John McNeil said the research, conducted by a team at the University of Oxford in the UK, was encouraging but urged caution.
Professor McNeil said the effects of long-term aspirin use, which could increase the chance of internal bleeding in the stomach, intestines and brain, needed to be weighed against potential benefits, especially in the elderly.
“Knowledge about whether aspirin should be used for prevention in the elderly will come only from clinical trials that measure all of the potentially positive and negative effects of the drug in that age group,” Professor McNeil said.
“Only ongoing research into the effects of aspirin across all ages and populations can give definitive answers as to aspirin’s potential health benefits and its risks, including cancer.”
The ASPREE study is a large public, primary prevention study ever undertaken in people aged 70 plus. The study of low dose aspirin in older Australians, will follow the health and well being of participants for five years and is being conducted in Victoria, Tasmania, SA, NSW and the ACT.