New Study Will Determine Whether the Potential Benefits of Aspirin Outweigh the Risks

risks and benefits of aspirin

Aspirin may help older people to live well for longer by delaying the onset of illnesses. In fact, previous studies have shown that low dose aspirin:

• Reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke and vascular events in middle aged people
• May help to prevent cognitive decline and forms of cancer such as bowel cancer

However, aspirin is known to have adverse-effects, such as bleeding, that may offset its benefits. Before doctors can know for sure if aspirin is helpful in prolonging a healthy life in older people, the benefits must be weighed against the risks.

The Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) study, for the first time, will determine whether the potential benefits of aspirin outweigh the risks for people over age 65.

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The Trial

• ASPREE is a randomized, double-blind placebo controlled study
• It involves both males and females, 65 years and older
• Participants are randomly assigned (or randomized), like the flip of a coin, to take either a low-dose aspirin tablet (100mg) or a placebo tablet (dummy pill) for about 5 years
• The study will recruit 19,000 healthy participants through regional centers (both in urban and rural locations throughout Australia and the United States)
• Annual follow-up visits will involve a number of health, clinical and other measurements
• Any abnormalities will be reported to the participant’s doctor for further assessment

ASPREE is the largest international trial ever conducted by the US National Institute on Aging and is being conducted in the US and Australia.

Participants will be recruited in the United States through clinical trial centers throughout the US. To find an ASPREE location near you, please visit

ASPREE will also be conducted in Australia, where approximately 12,500 participants will be recruited through their general practice in Melbourne, regional Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.

People are eligible to take part in this study if they are:
• aged 65 years or over
• a healthy individual
• willing and able to provide informed consent

People cannot take part if they:
• have blood vessel disease.
• have a serious illness.
• are allergic to aspirin or cannot take it.
• have had or are at risk of serious bleeding.
• are taking other ‘blood thinning’ medication.
• have seriously impaired mental or physical function.

Those interested in participating in ASPREE will complete a brief phone screen to determine if they are eligible and answer some basic questions about their medical history and the medications they take. Anyone who is eligible and wishes to continue will then attend a clinic visit where blood work and mental and physical tests will be performed. A one month supply of “run-in” medication will then be given to those who qualify for enrollment. At the end of the screening phase, people willing to continue will be randomized (randomly assigned like the flip of a coin) to take either aspirin or placebo (a dummy pill) for an average of five years.

How to join?

To see if you may qualify for ASPREE, please contact an ASPREE location near you. For a complete list of ASPREE locations, please visit

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