- Aspirin is a non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to treat fever, pain and inflammation.
- A research team from the University of Southern California studied the long term benefits of aspirin in older adults.
- Taking a low dose of aspirin everyday can prevent the risk of heart disease and certain cancers in the elderly.
Aspirin is a non steroidal anti inflammatory drug prescribed for the treatment of pain, fever and inflammation. It is used to prevent heart attack, stroke and blood clots. It is also found to decrease the risk of colorectal cancers.
‘Aspirin regimen can benefit the elderly to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.’
AdvertisementAbout one in four deaths recorded in the United States was due to heart diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also stated the use of aspirin to reduce the risk of heart diseases by thinning the blood.
The researchers found that following a daily aspirin regimen by the older adults can result in a net health benefit of approximately $692 billion in the U.S. population.
The study findings were published in the journal PLOS One.
David B. Agus, founding director and CEO of Lawrence J.Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine at USC said, "Although the health benefits of aspirin are well established, although 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."
The long term benefits of taking a low dose aspirin everyday was examined after the U.S. Preventive Service Task Force (USPSTF) expert panel issued the updated clinical guidelines for benefits of aspirin. However, the FDA was anxious on patients above the age of 60 who had an increased risk of stroke and bleeding while taking aspirin daily.
Etienne Gaudette, assistant professor USC School of Pharmacy and Policy director of the USC Roybal Center for Health Policy Simulation said, "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. "
The USPSTF recommends aspirin regimen to elderly patients who are at a 10% greater risk of developing heart diseases. Patients with a high risk of bleeding have to decide individually whether to take the drug everyday.
The recommendations were based on the data collected from the American Heart Association.
Benefits of Aspirin in the Elderly
The long-term benefits of aspirin was studied by considering two scenarios, through the USC Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Economics and Policy's Future Elderly Model.
The first scenario was based on "Guidelines Adherence", which focused on health benefits from task force guidelines given in 2009. While, the second scenario were based on the "Universal Eligibility" which determined the benefits of taking aspirin everyday by the elderly.
The data for the study was collected from the U.S. Health and Retirement Study of Americans 51 and older, the large-scale Medical Expenditure Panel Survey of non-institutionalized Americans, and the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey and data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Individual health characteristics such as chronic disease, daily activities, body mass index and mortality was taken into account.
The research study found guidelines would help to prevent about 11 cases of heart diseases and 4 cases of cancer for every 1000 Americans between 51-79. They also found a 0.3 year improvement in the life expectancy.
By 2036, approximately 900,000 Americans would live. However, there was a 25% increase in the rate of gastrointestinal bleeding.
The researchers found University Eligibility scenario to have more health benefits when compared to Guidelines adherence.
Dana Goldman, director of the Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics and distinguished professor of public policy, pharmacy and economics, said,"The irony of our findings is that aspirin may be too cheap."
"Only 40 percent of Americans are taking aspirin when they should, and providers have little incentive to push that number up, despite the obvious health benefits and healthcare savings."
"Until we figure out how to reward providers - and manufacturers -- for long-term outcomes, no one is going to do anything about this problem," he added.
- David B. Agus et.al. The Long-Term Benefits of Increased Aspirin Use by At-Risk Americans Aged 50 and Older. PLOS One ; (2016) http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0166103