Daily Low-Dose Aspirin and Risk of Serious Falls and Fractures in Healthy Older People: A Substudy of the ASPREE Randomized Clinical Trial

JAMA Intern Med. 2022 Dec 1;182(12):1289-1297. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2022.5028.


Importance: Falls and fractures are frequent and deleterious to the health of older people. Aspirin has been reported to reduce bone fragility and slow bone loss.

Objective: To determine if daily low-dose aspirin (100 mg) reduces the risk of fractures or serious falls (fall-related hospital presentations) in healthy older men and women.

Design, setting, and participants: This substudy of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial studied older adult men and women in 16 major sites across southeastern Australia. The ASPREE-FRACTURE substudy was conducted as part of the Australian component of the ASPREE trial. Between 2010 and 2014 healthy (free of cardiovascular disease, dementia or physical disability), community-dwelling volunteers aged 70 years or older were recruited to participate in the ASPREE trial. Potentially eligible participants were identified by medical practitioners and trial personnel and were then sent a letter of invitation to participate. Interested participants were screened for suitability. Eligible participants with medical practitioner authorization and adherent to a 4-week run-in medication trial were randomized. Data were analyzed from October 17, 2019, to August 31, 2022.

Interventions: Participants in the intervention group received a daily dose of oral 100 mg enteric-coated (low-dose) aspirin. The control group received a daily identical enteric-coated placebo tablet.

Main outcomes and measures: The primary outcome of ASPREE-FRACTURE was the occurrence of any fracture. The secondary outcome was serious fall resulting in hospital presentation.

Results: In total, 16 703 people with a median (IQR) age of 74 (72-78) years were recruited, and 9179 (55.0%) were women. There were 8322 intervention participants and 8381 control participants included in the primary and secondary outcome analysis of 2865 fractures and 1688 serious falls over the median follow-up of 4.6 years. While there was no difference in the risk of first fracture between the intervention and control participants (hazard ratio, 0.97; 95% CI, 0.87-1.06; P = .50), aspirin was associated with a higher risk of serious falls (total falls 884 vs 804; incidence rate ratio, 1.17; 95% CI, 1.03-1.33; P = .01). Results remained unchanged in analyses that adjusted for covariates known to influence fracture and fall risk.

Conclusions and relevance: In this substudy of a randomized clinical trial, the failure of low-dose aspirin to reduce the risk of fractures while increasing the risk of serious falls adds to evidence that this agent provides little favorable benefit in a healthy, White older adult population.

Trial registration: This substudy is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12615000347561).

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aspirin* / therapeutic use
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone* / epidemiology
  • Fractures, Bone* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Male


  • Aspirin

Associated data

  • ANZCTR/ACTRN12615000347561