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A new American study claims that older people who take low-dose aspirin daily significantly reduce their risk of contracting heart disease or cancer.
The researchers found that regular doses of the inexpensive medication could extend lifespan and save the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients currently at risk of disease.
The findings by USC contradict US Food and Drink Administration (FDA) fears that older Americans face an increased risk of stroke and bleeding in the brain and stomach if they take aspirin daily.
According to lead author David B. Agus, a USC professor of medicine and engineering: “Although the health benefits of aspirin are well established, few people take it.
“Our study shows multiple health benefits and a reduction in healthcare spending from this simple, low-cost measure that should be considered a standard part of care for the appropriate patient.”
This year, the long-term benefits of low-dose, daily aspirin were called into question following the publication of conflicting guidelines by the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), a government-backed panel of experts, and the FDA.
The USPSTF issued updated aspirin guidelines that declared the clinical benefit of aspirin, but the FDA is concerned that some patients, particularly those 60 and older, face an increased risk of stroke and bleeding – both gastrointestinal and in the brain – if they follow the daily aspirin regimen.
According to study co-author Étienne Gaudette, an assistant professor in the USC School of Pharmacy, “The problem that this creates for Americans and medical professionals is that the information about aspirin is confusing. This means some Americans who would benefit from aspirin aren’t taking it.
“Through our study, we sought to make it much easier for everyone to understand what the long-term benefits are.”
It has long been known that regular use of low dose aspirin can help patients at risk of heart disease because it thins the blood and prevents clotting.
To assess the long-term benefits of aspirin, the USC researchers used the university’s Future Elderly Model, which projects the health of older Americans and their trajectory in aging.