Perhaps you’ve heard the advice that taking a low dose of aspirin every day will reduce the likelihood of a first heart attack or stroke.
Well, that may not be true.
The Japanese Primary Prevention Project (JPPP) presented news at the American Heart Association meeting in Chicago that its research refutes the long-held belief that aspirin keeps your ticker intact.
The JPPP conducted a randomized study over more than five years, which looked at 14,464 patients—between the ages 60 and 85—with a history of diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia. The study’s participants were divided into two groups: those taking a low, 100 mg dose of enteric-coated aspirin and those who were taking a placebo.
The study tracked the progress of participants until just after its fifth year, when an independent review board cut the trial short due to similar—almost duplicated—outcomes for patients who took the pill and those who didn’t.
Of the members taking the aspirin, 137 had non-fatal heart attacks or strokes and 56 died from cardiovascular-related events. On the flip-side, 151 patients on the placebo experienced non-fatal attacks and 56 died from heart failure.
“Even if the result had become statistically significant through prolongation of the study, the clinical importance of aspirin in the primary prevention of cardiovascular events would have been less than originally assumed,” reports Yasuo Ikeda, M.D. at Waseda University in Tokyo. “Therefore, it appears that aspirin is unlikely to show a clinically important benefit in the overall population included in this study.”