Background Disability, mortality and healthcare burden from fractures in older people is a growing problem worldwide. Observational studies suggest that aspirin may reduce fracture risk. While these studies provide room for optimism, randomised controlled trials are needed. This paper describes the rationale and design of the ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly (ASPREE)-Fracture substudy, which aims to determine whether daily low-dose aspirin decreases fracture risk in healthy older people.
Methods ASPREE is a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled primary prevention trial designed to assess whether daily active treatment using low-dose aspirin extends the duration of disability-free and dementia-free life in 19 000 healthy older people recruited from Australian and US community settings. This substudy extends the ASPREE trial data collection to determine the effect of daily low-dose aspirin on fracture and fall-related hospital presentation risk in the 16 500 ASPREE participants aged ≥70 years recruited in Australia. The intervention is a once daily dose of enteric-coated aspirin (100 mg) versus a matching placebo, randomised on a 1:1 basis. The primary outcome for this substudy is the occurrence of any fracture—vertebral, hip and non-vert-non-hip—occurring post randomisation. Fall-related hospital presentations are a secondary outcome.
Discussion This substudy will determine whether a widely available, simple and inexpensive health intervention—aspirin—reduces the risk of fractures in older Australians. If it is demonstrated to safely reduce the risk of fractures and serious falls, it is possible that aspirin might provide a means of fracture prevention.
Trial registration number The protocol for this substudy is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12615000347561).
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