They found that the rates for major cardiovascular events-including coronary heart disease, nonfatal heart attacks, and fatal and nonfatal ischemic stroke-were similar in the aspirin and the placebo groups.
So yes, don't pop aspirin if you are healthy.
"The increase in cancer deaths in study participants in the aspirin group was surprising, given prior studies suggesting aspirin use improved cancer outcomes", said Leslie Ford, M.D., associate director for clinical research, NCI Division of Cancer Prevention.
While aspirin has been a commonly used drug among the elderly, it has been taken with the risk of bleeding, which is known as a side-effect of taking the medication.
Dr Gabriel Choi Kin, former president of the Hong Kong Medical Association, said the use of low-dose aspirin for healthy elderly people was controversial. However, as per the trio of studies says that consuming a very low level of aspirin everyday can lead to noteworthy health advantage for blooming older adults. Another negative observation was the increased risk of cancer-related death in those who were given aspirin every day.
Researchers also looked at whether taking aspirin affected the likelihood of developing dementia, but found little difference between those who took aspirin and those who took a placebo.
But a new Australian-led study has found that's not the case.
However, all of the experts agreed that if you're now taking aspirin under a doctor's direction you shouldn't stop until you discuss it with them, regardless of your age.
"But here, this study has been looking at primary, so in terms of people previously well, and the evidence has come in and clearly shown that there is no benefit, and in fact, it can create secondary other issues which are obviously of concern".
Dr Nespolon said while there have been mixed opinions on whether giving healthy people aspirin is a good idea, this new study "clearly shows people over 70 shouldn't be taking aspirin as simply an aid to their health".
At the end of the trial, 90.3 percent of the aspirin-treated patients were still alive, compared to 90.5 percent of those who received placebos.
The study also showed slightly higher rates of death in those taking aspirin, primarily from cancer, although the results were not statistically significant, he said. ASPREE has provided this answer, McNeil said.
"But whereas funding for major trials typically comes from the pharmaceutical industry, aspirin is a drug that is off patent and is therefore a study that could only be done with public funds". After nearly five years, the researchers did not perceive a contrast between two groups as far as disability-free survival was concerned.
"There's definitely an increased bleeding risk, and it's not benign", said Dr. Vincent Bufalino, a cardiologist and spokesman for the American Heart Association.
Doctors have long recommended a low dose of aspirin to protect against a second or third heart attack, but researchers in Australia found there was no benefit for healthy seniors.
The researchers will continue to follow the health of ASPREE participants and expect to release more results in the future.
Prof McNeil cautioned the findings did not apply to those with existing conditions where aspirin is recommended as a preventive measure against further heart attacks, strokes or angina.