Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Aspirin ineffective for cognitive function

The British Medical Journal has published the results of a study that aimed to determine the effects of low dose aspirin on cognitive function.

The study involved 3,350 men and women aged 50 years and above who were participating in another study examining the effects of aspirin in asymptomatic atherosclerosis. Participants were randomly assigned to aspirin at a dose on 100mg per day or placebo for a period of 5 years.

At baseline mean vocabulary scores were similar in the two groups. At the end of five years follow up there was no significant difference in the mean scores of the individual cognitive tests or in the proportion of individuals achieving a cognitive score greater than the median.

The authors conclude that, "aspirin does not affect cognitive function in middle aged to elderly people at increased cardiovascular risk".

Action: Clinicians should be aware of this research. Patients may be taking aspirin to maintain cognitive functioning; this study indicates that aspirin prophylaxis should focus upon preventing cardiovascular events.

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