2 files

Effect of aspirin on all-cause mortality in the healthy elderly

journal contribution
posted on 2018-10-18, 00:00 authored by John J McNeil, Mark R Nelson, Robyn L Woods, Jessica E Lockery, Rory Wolfe, Christopher M Reid, Brenda Kirpach, Raj C Shah, Diane G Ives, Elsdon Storey, Joanne Ryan, Andrew M Tonkin, Anne B Newman, Jeff D Williamson, Karen L Margolis, Michael E Ernst, Walter P Abhayaratna, Nigel Stocks, Sharyn M Fitzgerald, Suzanne G Orchard, Ruth E Trevaks, Lawrence J Beilin, Geoffrey A Donnan, Peter Gibbs, Colin I Johnston, Barbara Radziszewska, Richard Grimm, Anne M Murray, ASPREE Investigator Group, Michael BerkMichael Berk
BACKGROUND: In the primary analysis of the Aspirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE) trial, now published in the Journal, we report that the daily use of aspirin did not provide a benefit with regard to the primary end point of disability-free survival among older adults. A numerically higher rate of the secondary end point of death from any cause was observed with aspirin than with placebo. METHODS: From 2010 through 2014, we enrolled community-dwelling persons in Australia and the United States who were 70 years of age or older (or ≥65 years of age among blacks and Hispanics in the United States) and did not have cardiovascular disease, dementia, or disability. Participants were randomly assigned to receive 100 mg of enteric-coated aspirin or placebo. Deaths were classified according to the underlying cause by adjudicators who were unaware of trial-group assignments. Hazard ratios were calculated to compare mortality between the aspirin group and the placebo group, and post hoc exploratory analyses of specific causes of death were performed. RESULTS: Of the 19,114 persons who were enrolled, 9525 were assigned to receive aspirin and 9589 to receive placebo. A total of 1052 deaths occurred during a median of 4.7 years of follow-up. The risk of death from any cause was 12.7 events per 1000 person-years in the aspirin group and 11.1 events per 1000 person-years in the placebo group (hazard ratio, 1.14; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01 to 1.29). Cancer was the major contributor to the higher mortality in the aspirin group, accounting for 1.6 excess deaths per 1000 person-years. Cancer-related death occurred in 3.1% of the participants in the aspirin group and in 2.3% of those in the placebo group (hazard ratio, 1.31; 95% CI, 1.10 to 1.56). CONCLUSIONS: Higher all-cause mortality was observed among apparently healthy older adults who received daily aspirin than among those who received placebo and was attributed primarily to cancer-related death. In the context of previous studies, this result was unexpected and should be interpreted with caution. (Funded by the National Institute on Aging and others; ASPREE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01038583 .).



New England journal of medicine






1519 - 1528


Massachusetts Medical Society


Waltham, Mass.





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2018, Massachusetts Medical Society