Aspirin increases the risk of intracerebral haemorrhage and does not prevent stroke

Doctors sometimes recommend that older adults take low-dose aspirin to reduce their risk of the most common stroke. However, one study showed that this was not as effective as placebo and increased the risk of intracerebral hemorrhage.

Aspirin can thin the blood, so doctors sometimes recommend it to older people to reduce the risk of stroke

Photo credit: Mr Aesthetics/Shutterstock

Taking low-dose aspirin daily does not prevent the condition of this common condition in older adults who have never had a stroke, and may increase their risk of bleeding in the brain.

John McNeil of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, said: “This provides more evidence that it is not a good idea to prescribe aspirin to people who don’t need it. ”

As older people age, the chance of developing blood clots increases, which can hinder blood flow to the brain, triggering what is known as an ischemic stroke. To counter this risk, doctors sometimes prescribe blood-thinning aspirin to older adults at doses of 75 to 100 milligrams per day, which is often considered a low dose.

But McNeil says even taking low-dose aspirin isn’t without risk. Last November, he and his colleagues demonstrated that taking low-dose aspirin every day increases the risk of falls in older adults.

As part of the trial, McNeil’s team investigated the incidence of stroke and bleeding in the head in 19,114 people over an average of nearly five years. Of those participants, 17,725 were at least 70 years old and living in Australia, the vast majority of whom were white. The remaining 1,389 participants were Hispanic or African Americans aged 65 and older living in the United States. At the start of the study, none of the participants had a history of stroke or any other cardiovascular disease.

About half of the participants were assigned to take 100 mg of aspirin per day, while the other half were given a placebo.

1.5% of participants taking low-dose aspirin experienced an ischemic stroke during the study, compared with 1.7% in the placebo group. Taking into account the number of years each person participated in the study, the researchers found that aspirin did not reduce their risk of ischemic stroke. This was still the case when researchers categorized participants based on age, gender, race, or ethnicity.

When it came to the side effects of aspirin, the study found that 1.1 percent of participants who took aspirin experienced bleeding inside or around the brain, compared with 0.8 percent of those who took a placebo. Although this may sound like little difference, statistical analysis shows that it was not an accidental finding. This type of bleeding sometimes occurs after a blow to the head, such as when falling, but sometimes spontaneously.

The finding is especially important because intracranial hemorrhage is often more deadly than ischemic stroke, McNeil said. In addition to aspirin’s blood-thinning properties, people’s blood vessels naturally weaken with age and are more likely to cause bleeding.

However, McNeil said the findings only apply to people with no history of cardiovascular disease. Low-dose aspirin may help reduce the risk of stroke in people with these conditions.

Before taking or changing medications, you should consult a doctor. (Source: China Science News Guo Yueying)

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