Header for Osteoporosis Digest

Can Childrens Aspirin Help In Osteoporosis Prevention And Treatment?

Childrens aspirin is known for reducing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. But research now shows that it can reduce cancer deaths by at least twenty percent and may also help to prevent osteoporosis.

Aspirin has been considered a wonder drug for thousands of years. Folk medicine has used willow tree extracts for pain relief since the time of the ancient Greeks. After a synthetic derivative (acetyl salicylic acid or ASA) was created in 1897, aspirin became the most widely used medicine in the world.

But the gold standard of scientific evidence is a randomized controlled trial with many people over a long period of time. Oxford University has now released the results of such a trial demonstrating that aspirin can reduce cancer deaths by at least twenty percent. The research on osteoporosis prevention is at a very earlier stage but is still promising.

ABOUT THE CANCER RESEARCH

Aspirin is known to cut the risk of heart attack and stroke among those at increased risk-although the protective effects are thought to be small for healthy adults. And there has always been a concern about the increased risk of bleeding in the stomach.

Research involving 25,570 people in the UK (one third of whom were women) now suggests that when weighing the risks and benefits of taking aspirin, patients should consider its protective effect against cancer. Patients who took aspirin had a 25% lower risk of death from cancer during the trial period of the research and a 10% reduction in death from any cause compared to patients who were not taking aspirin.

Taking aspirin over the long term reduced cancer risk as follows:

  • 20-year prostate cancer: 10%
  • lung cancer: 30%
  • bowel cancer: 40%
  • esophageal/throat cancer: 60%

Unfortunately, the research did not clearly indicate that aspirin reduced the risk of gynecological or breast cancers.

ASPIRIN DOSAGE AND DURATION

The Oxford University research found that small daily doses of aspirin were enough to provide protection from cancer and that daily dosages above 75 mg provided no additional benefits. The research also found that daily intake of low-dose aspirin was required for prolonged periods before the benefits take effect. The duration for successful treatment was found to be as follows:

  • oesophageal, pancreatic brain and lung cancer: 5 years
  • stomach and colorectal cancer: 10 years
  • prostate cancer: 15 years

Fortunately, the benefits of low dose aspirin appear to last for many years. Five years after the research trials ended, death rates for all cancers fell by 35% and for gastrointestinal cancers by 54%. A long-term follow up of patients showed that the 20 year risk of cancer death remained 20% lower in those who had taken aspirin.

Researchers believe that the best time to begin taking aspirin is when the risk of most cancers starts to rise significantly, after the age of 45.

ASPIRIN AND OSTEOPOROSIS

Research conducted by the University of Southern California School of Dentistry has revealed that aspirin can promote the formation of osteoblasts (cells that create bone) and inhibit bone resorption (breakdown of bone). But the research was conducted on mice whose ovaries had been removed to induce a loss of estrogen similar to that experienced by women in menopause.

Studies on laboratory mice are not sufficient to draw a conclusion for human beings... but suggest that further research is warranted.

IS CHILDRENS ASPIRIN FOR EVERYONE?

Despite the encouraging research, doctors are not yet prescribing aspirin for everyone as an addition to their vitamin supplements. There are a number of health conditions that may pose a risk even for low dose aspirin and the sudden stopping of daily aspirin therapy may trigger a blood clot and increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke. Consultation with a medical doctor is always recommended before adding it to a daily regimen.

BUYING CHILDRENS ASPIRIN

Manufacturers now produce a low dose adult aspirin of 81 mg (compared to regular aspirin which is usually 325 mg) so that the purchase of baby aspirin is no longer necessary for those seeking to prevent cancer or heart attacks.

Purchasing aspirin online can provide significant savings. Children's aspirin can cost as little as 2 cents a tablet or $7 for a year's supply while in Canada generic childrens aspirin costs approximately 13 cents a tablet or $45 for a year's supply.

The risks of taking childrens aspirin should be discussed with a medical doctor before including them in your osteoporosis treatment program.