Doctors often prescribe daily low dose aspirin to people who have had a heart attack or stroke. Aspirin may help older people to live well for longer by delaying the onset of illnesses in the first place. In fact, previous studies have shown that low dose aspirin:

  • Reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke and vascular events in middle aged people
  • May help to prevent cognitive decline, depression and forms of cancer such as bowel cancer

However, aspirin is known to have adverse-effects, such as bleeding, that may offset its benefits. Before doctors can know for sure if aspirin is helpful in prolonging healthy, disability-free life in older people, the benefits must be weighed against the risks.

The ASPREE study, for the first time, will determine whether the potential benefits of aspirin outweigh the risks in healthy people aged 70 years and over.

The Trial -

  • ASPREE is a randomised, double-blind placebo controlled study
  • It involves both males and females, 70 years and older
  • Participants are randomly assigned (or randomised) to take either a low-dose aspirin tablet (100mg) or a placebo tablet (dummy pill) for an average of 5 years
  • The study has enrolled more than 19,000 healthy participants through regional centres (both in urban and rural locations throughout Australia and the United States)
  • Annual follow-ups will involve a number of health, clinical and other measurements click here. Significant abnormalities will be reported to the participant’s doctor for further assessment
  • The trial has a number of sub-studies, which investigate the effect of aspirin on specific diseases click here
  • Results of the main ASPREE study should be known in 2018

If aspirin is shown to be of overall benefit, millions of healthy older people around the world will be advised to take aspirin. If aspirin is shown not to be of benefit, then many older people will stop taking an unnecessary medication.


Primary ethics site

Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee (MUHREC)

Secondary ethics sites

1. Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.
2. Human Research Ethics Committee (Tasmania) Network.
3. ACT Health Human Research Ethics Committee.
4. The University of Adelaide Human Research Ethics Committee.