Daily Consumption Of Aspirin Increases The Risk Of Bleeds And Death

The risk of internal bleeding from swallowing blood-thinning aspirin pills is far higher in over-75s than was previously thought say researchers

Treatment programmes should be reviewed every three to five years in very elderly patients who take aspirin and PPIs together, the authors said.

While it's been known for some time that aspirin increases the risk of bleeding for elderly patients, this study provides a much clearer understanding of the size of the increased risk, and the severity and consequences of bleeds.

While the stomach bleeds can be potentially prevented by taking stomach-protecting PPI pills, taking daily aspirin in older people after a stroke or heart attack is still essential, and stopping aspirin use suddenly could be unsafe, according to the BBC.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of Global Positioning System, said: "The study does reassure us that in most cases, aspirin is still the most appropriate course of treatment for patients, but highlights the importance of managing its use carefully and effectively and that some patients may require additional medication to protect them".

The advice is based on research collected from a 10-year study of 3,166 patients, half of which were 75 or over when the study began.

"Since numerous deaths are preventable by taking PPIs, people over 75 should be prescribed a PPI along with their aspirin".

In the decade-long study by the University of Oxford on over 3,000 patients, the dangers of taking the popular painkiller over a long period were much higher than they had expected.

"We have known for some time that aspirin increases the risk of bleeding for elderly patients", the lead author of the study, Professor Peter Rothwell of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, said in a statement.

The risk of disabling or fatal bleeding also climbed with age, coming in at less than 0.5 percent for under 65s and 1.5 percent for those aged 75-84 and almost 2.5 percent for patients aged 85 or over. "We did not routinely co-prescribe PPIs, partly because clinical guidelines on secondary prevention of vascular events make no specific recommendations on PPI use, and partly because no accepted definition exists of patients at high risk of upper gastrointestinal bleeding". Heartburn medication would allow people 75 years and older to keep the preventative benefits of aspirin while avoiding its risky side-effects, they reported in the medical journal The Lancet. The authors note that the majority of patients in the study were taking aspirin (75mg enteric coat) with only a few patients taking clopidogrel, meaning that the findings may not apply to other antiplatelet drugs.

While the drugs had "tiny benefits" for such patients in mid-life, in reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer, the dangers increase with age, he said.

"In the over-75s the risk of a serious bleed is higher, but the key point is that this risk is substantially preventable by taking proton pump inhibitors alongside aspirin". Heartburn medication would allow keeping the preventive benefits of Aspirin, they reported in the medical journal The Lancel. Half of the participants were aged 75 or older at the start of the study. Hence it is recommended that people aged over 75 should also take PPI along with aspirin as it has prevented 3,000 excess deaths. This can reduce bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract by up to 90 percent.

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