Link Between Daily Aspirin Use and Anemia in Adults Aged 65 and Over: Long-Term Study Findings

2023-06-21 16:13:12

Daily aspirin use and anemia may be linked. This is the conclusion of a long-term study on people aged 65 and over.

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A follow-up analysis of data from a clinical trial funded by the National Institutes of Health suggests that daily low-dose aspirin increases the risk of anemia in otherwise healthy adults aged 65 and over. As a reminder, iron deficiency anemia happens when the body does not have enough iron. This leads to a decrease in the production of hemoglobin — a protein that binds oxygen — and therefore oxygenated blood to the tissues.

More than 19,000 adults aged 65 and over

The Aspree study is an American and Australian research project consisting of studying the effect of the daily administration of 100 milligrams of aspirin on the survival without dementia or disability in the elderly, over an average period of 4.5 years. Daily administration of aspirin increases major bleeding; the researchers wanted to know its impact on anemia, hemoglobin and ferritin concentrations, ie the level of iron in the blood. The analysis published in Annals of Internal Medicine included 19,114 people aged 65 and over.

For the trial, participants took either 100 milligrams of aspirin daily or a placebo. Hemoglobin was measured annually; ferritin was measured at the start of the study and three years later. In people who received aspirin, ferritin concentrations fell significantly and hemoglobin levels fell slightly, compared to people treated with placebo.

The researchers acknowledge that no data was available on the causes of anemia. They recommend periodic monitoring of hemoglobin in the elderly on aspirin.

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