Daily aspirin may be harmful for younger women
The health benefits to women of taking a daily dose of aspirin may depend largely on their age, according to a new study.
Previous research on the effects of aspirin has led to mixed results. Some studies have suggested that aspirin may help prevent heart disease and some cancers and may be particularly effective for women above the age of 65. Other studies, however, have suggested that the potential benefits may not outweight the harm, which can include risk of internal bleeding.
In the new study, scientists recruited nearly 28,000 women ages 45 and older, who were randomly assigned to take either 100 milligrams of aspirin or a placebo every other day. Over an average of 10 years, the researchers collected data on how many women in each group experienced heart disease, cancer or internal bleeding.
The researchers observed that the women who took aspirin experienced either little benefit--such as slightly lowered risk of heart disease and colon cancer--or higher rates of hospitalization due to complications.
The results of the study, published in the journal Heart, also showed that whether a woman experienced benefits of taking aspirin was most determined by age. The women who experienced the most benefits, researchers said, were those age 65 or older. They added that they are still unable to reach a consensus as to whether the benefits outweigh the risks but that older women who are at high risk of heart disease or stroke may want to consult with their doctor about taking aspirin for treatment.