"Major hemorrhage events primarily involved upper gastrointestinal and intracranial bleeding".
A team of researchers from Monash University in Melbourne published their findings from a seven-year study in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, on Sunday. It also showed a higher rate of suffering from a major hemorrhage.
"The increase in cancer deaths in study participants in the aspirin group was surprising, given prior studies suggesting aspirin use improved cancer outcomes", Leslie Ford, the associate director of clinical research at the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Prevention, said in a news release. None of the participants was known to suffer from heart disease, dementia or persistent physical disability at the time of enrollment.
Extra cases of cancer were the chief reason for the higher death rate, with 3.1 per cent of aspirin users dying of cancer versus 2.3 per cent in the control group.
"These initial findings will help to clarify the role of aspirin in disease prevention for older adults, but much more needs to be learned", Hadley said. "But not only did it not decrease risk of disability or death, it did not decrease the risk of heart attack and stroke, and there was an increase in the rate of death". ASPREE has provided this answer, McNeil said. The findings would help inform prescribing doctors who have been uncertain about recommending aspirin to healthy patients who do not have a clear medical reason for it.
"But we have not identified results that are strikingly different", McNeil said in an email. In an environment where conflict-of-interest issues rock the research world as funds are put in by drug companies, McNeil clarified, in this study, that the originator company Bayer only provided the tablets and placebo (an inert pill that does not contain the active drug). "It is to the great credit to the US NIH and the Australian NHMRC that they recognised this need and underwrote the substantial cost of undertaking a study of this magnitude". "But for the people who decide to take aspirin just off their own bat, this research has cast some doubt over whether it is a good idea".
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Dr Richard Hodes, director of the National Institute on Ageing (NIA) in the U.S., said: 'Clinical guidelines note the benefits of aspirin for preventing heart attacks and strokes in persons with vascular conditions such as coronary artery disease.
Dr Tony Bartone, national president of the AMA, spoke to Sky News' Ashleigh Gillon on Monday and said that Global Positioning System are happy to discuss any patient concerns.
In spite of the above results, researchers still say that if you are a healthy, elderly person and you have been taking aspirin daily, you shouldn't necessarily stop.
While a daily dose of the blood-thinning medicine can protect older people who have previously experienced heart attacks, strokes and angina, researchers found the drug did not extend the lifespan of healthy people over the age of 70.
"So, this is a welcomed study, but everybody who is now taking aspirin should obviously see their GP before making changes to their regime".