If there’s ever been a wonder drug, it’s Aspirin. Not only is it a pain reliever, but there is also evidence that it can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Some research has also linked it to better bone health and a lower risk of fractures. Now a recent study has looked more closely at its potential benefit to bones.
It can be kind of surprising to think that Aspirin would have any effect on bone health or the risk of fractures. Some believe it may encourage the development and survival of bone marrow cells involved in bone formation. There is also some evidence to suggest it may inhibit cells that break bone down.
One observational review found that aspirin use could reduce fracture risk by 17 percent. This study, however, could not prove that Aspirin was the actual reason for the lower number of fractures.
A recently published study, however, was better suited to determine if Aspirin had any benefit to bone health.
Published in JAMA, the study was the first randomized, controlled trial to explore the possible link between Aspirin and bone health. Randomized, controlled trials are considered the gold standard for scientific research.
Nearly 17,000 older adults were randomly assigned to take a low-dose aspirin (100 mg) or an identical placebo every day. They were monitored for fractures or serious falls over five years. Serious falls were those that led to an emergency room hospital admission. The average age of the participants was 55.
The study found that serious falls and fractures were common, experienced by 8.6 percent of those taking Aspirin and 9.5 of those on the placebo. There was virtually no difference in fracture risk between the placebo and aspirin groups.
The aspirin users had a significantly higher risk of serious falls. This could be due to Aspirin’s blood-thinning effect: an injury that may ordinarily cause only minor bruising or bleeding might require medical attention if the person was taking Aspirin.
So even though it might have the moniker of “wonder drug,” this latest study shows it might not be good for every condition.