Review article: the ageing bowel and intolerance to aspirin

Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2004 Jan 1;19(1):39-45. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2036.2003.01811.x.


Aspirin has a role in the prevention of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease, Alzheimer's dementia and several cancers. Encouraging all 50 year olds to take low-dose aspirin doubles their chances of living a healthy life into their nineties. The widespread use of aspirin, however, is limited as many older subjects are currently unable to take aspirin because of gastrointestinal side-effects. This review explores why gastrointestinal events occur with aspirin use and how a net benefit from prophylactic aspirin might be achieved in older subjects. It is suggested that, by understanding the age-related changes in upper gastrointestinal physiology and the mechanisms by which aspirin leads to the risk reductions associated with its use, it may be possible to direct interventions to improve tolerability in older subjects. This would allow greater numbers of older subjects to gain the benefits associated with aspirin use.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects*
  • Aspirin / adverse effects*
  • Forecasting
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Helicobacter Infections / prevention & control
  • Helicobacter pylori
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Aspirin