Tasmanian seniors put Aspirin to the test

Tasmanian seniors put Aspirin to the test

Progress of Australia's largest clinical trial involving more than 2000 elderly Tasmanians will be presented to participants and guests in Hobart today.

The trial, called ASPREE (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly), is the largest primary prevention aspirin study ever undertaken in healthy older people.  Almost 900 residents in the Hobart region are enrolled in the study, with approximately 170 people expected to attend tomorrow's event.

ASPREE is investigating whether a daily low dose of aspirin prevents cardiovascular disease (heart attack and stroke), dementia, depression and some cancers. A total of 16,703 older Australians are enrolled in the trial, with an additional 2,411 participants from the USA.

Professor Mark Nelson, a Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Tasmania’s Menzies Institute for Medical Research, and Chair of General Practice at the University of Tasmania, is a Chief Investigator of the ASPREE study. He believes the study is extremely relevant for Australia’s ageing population.

“The ASPREE study is looking at the potential of aspirin to preserve good health and quality of life, something that is increasingly important as our population ages,” said Professor Nelson.

Professor Nelson said that while aspirin had the potential to extend good health, it was also known to have side effects, such as bleeding. The results of the ASPREE study would determine once and for all whether the benefits of daily low dose aspirin outweighed the risks in the healthy elderly.

Professor Nelson explained that the trial's success was largely driven by GPs, who as co-investigators, invited their eligible patients to enrol in the study.

“Senior citizens in Tasmania have embraced the opportunity to participate in a trial of international significance,” said Professor Nelson.

Some 15 sub-studies have evolved from the principal trial. In Australia, these include the effect of aspirin on specific diseases such as depression, age-related macular degeneration, cancer, osteoarthritis, bone fractures, severe infection, sleep apnoea, age-related hearing loss and microvascular changes in the brain.

Trial participants take 100mg of aspirin or a placebo tablet daily and undergo annual study health checks for an average of five years. Researchers, participants and their GPs do not know who is on which tablet until the end of the trial.

Updates on the trial’s progress will also be held in Burnie and Launceston early next year.

Early results of the ASPREE study and some sub-studies are expected mid 2018.



The ASPREE study is being funded by the US government’s National Institute on Aging, with funding support also received from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia and the Victorian Cancer Agency (VCA). The multinational, multi-site trial is led by Monash University in Australia and the Berman Center for Outcomes & Clinical Research in the USA. www.aspree.org.

Date & Time of the study progress update:

Tuesday 18th October, 10 am – 12 Noon (presentation finishes approximately 11.15 am)

Lecture Theatre, Room 115, Medical Science Precinct, University of Tasmania, 17 Liverpool Street, Hobart

Photo opportunity:

  • Professor Mark Nelson, ASPREE Chief Investigator and Chair of General Practice at the University of Tasmania  (presenter)
  • Local ASPREE participants

Contact: Trish Nichols

Phone: 1800 728 745