New research has shown that taking a daily low-dose aspirin(100mg) could potentially lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in older adults.
The study involved 16,209 healthy individuals aged 65 and over from Australia and the US. Half of the participants took a daily 100mg aspirin, while the other half received a placebo.
Over a five-year period, the group taking aspirin showed a 15% lower likelihood of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, along with lower average blood sugar levels.
Aspirin, a common anti-inflammatory drug, is known for pain relief. And has previously demonstrated benefits in reducing the risk of certain cancers, as well as preventing recurrent strokes and heart attacks.
However, aspirin is not widely recommended for preventive use in healthy adults due to known side effects. Such as brain bleeds and stomach ulcers.
Professor Sophia Zoungas, the lead author of the study from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, showed the need for further research to explore the potential of anti-inflammatory agents like aspirin in preventing type 2 diabetes. Nevertheless, these findings do not alter the current clinical advice regarding aspirin use in older adults.
The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK currently recommends low-dose aspirin (75mg) for individuals at high risk of heart attacks and strokes, particularly those with heart disease or a history of heart attacks.
This study serves as a follow-up to the ASPREE trial published in 2018. They did not find significant benefits of daily aspirin in reducing the risk of heart attacks or strokes in otherwise healthy adults. And also identified an increased risk of serious bleeding associated with aspirin use.
In response to these findings, Dr. Faye Riley of Diabetes UK stressed the importance of finding better ways to prevent type 2 diabetes. She also cautioned against the potential side effects of aspirin. And highlighted the continued significance of lifestyle factors, such as weight management, a healthy diet, and physical activity, in reducing diabetes risk.
- S Zoungas, Z Zhou, AJ Owen, et al. Effect of low dose aspirin on incident diabetes among older adults: post hoc analysis of the ASPREE randomised placebo-controlled trial. Presented at: Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) meeting. Hamburg, Germany. October 2 – 6, 2023.
- Naylor J. Study shows that low-dose aspirin associated with a 15% lower risk of developing diabetes in people aged over 65 years. EurekAlert! August 31, 2023. Accessed August 31, 2023. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/1000081.
- McNeil JJ, Nelson MR, Woods RL, et al. Effect of Aspirin on All-Cause Mortality in the Healthy Elderly. N Engl J Med. 2018;379(16):1519-1528. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1803955