Aspirin as a pain reliever in the elderly: is it safe to use?

Aspirin as a pain reliever is one of the most popular drugs in Germany. Like any medicine, it has side effects. For a number of years it has repeatedly been attributed a carcinogenic effect. However, such claims are not based on scientific findings. Researchers from the “General Hospital” of the “Harvard Medical School” in Great Britain wanted to find out whether aspirin really has a carcinogenic effect. They came to interesting results in a comprehensive study with more than 19,000 test persons.

Aspirin as a pain reliever: can the drug influence the development of cancer cells and how?

Take aspirin daily as a pain reliever in the elderly

As part of the study, which was conducted under the direction of Professor John J. McNeil, some of the subjects received a low dose of aspirin daily for a period of five years. The other subjects formed the control group and received placebo. Healthy adults aged 70 and over were researched. The results were evaluated after five years. The scientists found that:

1. No carcinogenic effects could be demonstrated in healthy people. Aspirin did not increase the risk of cancer in the test group.

2. Daily intake of aspirin could increase the risk of death in cancer patients. These are exclusively people who have already had cancer.

3. The researchers tested whether the subjects who were healthy at the start of the study and only later developed cancer developed metastases more often. They found that around a fifth of all subjects in the test group developed metastases. That was significantly higher than in the control group. The diagnosis of the participants in the test group was also made much later than that of the participants in the control group. The scientists therefore suspect that aspirin could under certain circumstances promote the formation of metastases in cancer patients. However, since this is an observational study, further studies are necessary to find the exact cause of the accelerated metastasis. One should also take into account that the test group only consisted of older people. How the daily aspirin intake would affect cancer patients under the age of 70 remains unclear.

Aspirin as a pain reliever in the elderly: We recommend consulting your family doctor

Aspirin as a pain reliever is safe to use daily in the elderly4. Increased death rates were found in the test subjects during the observation period. This means that cancer patients over the age of 70 should discuss aspirin intake with their doctor.

Older people should therefore ideally take aspirin after consulting their family doctor. If he has already prescribed aspirin therapy, under no circumstances should you stop it.

About the study

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