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Effects of aspirin on the long-term management of depression in older people: a double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial


Berk, M and Agustini, B and Woods, RL and Nelson, MR and Shah, RC and Reid, CM and Storey, E and Fitzgerald, SM and Lockery, JE and Wolfe, R and Mohebbi, M and Dodd, S and Murray, AM and Stocks, N and Fitzgerald, PB and Mazza, C and McNeil, JJ, Effects of aspirin on the long-term management of depression in older people: a double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial, Molecular Psychiatry ISSN 1359-4184 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1038/s41380-021-01020-5


Late-life depression is common and often inadequately managed using existing therapies. Depression is also associated with increased markers of inflammation, suggesting a potential role for anti-inflammatory agents. ASPREE-D is a sub-study of ASPREE, a large multi-centre, population-based, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of aspirin vs placebo in older Australian and American adults (median follow-up: 4.7 years) of whom 1879 were depressed at baseline. Participants were given 100 mg daily dose of aspirin or placebo. Depressive symptoms were assessed annually using the validated, self-rated short version of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale. There was a significant increase in depressive scores (0.6; 95% CI 0.2 to 0.9; χ2 (1) = 10.37; p = 0.001) and a decreased score in the mental health component of a quality of life scale (0.7; 95% CI 1.4 to 0.1; χ2 (1) = 4.74; p = 0.029) in the aspirin group compared to the placebo group. These effects were greater in the first year of follow-up and persisted throughout the study, albeit with small to very small effect sizes. This study failed to demonstrate any benefit of aspirin in the long-term course of depression in this community-dwelling sample of older adults over a 5-year period, and identified an adverse effect of aspirin in the course of depression in those with pre-existing depressive symptoms.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Clinical sciences
Research Field:Geriatrics and gerontology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Health related to ageing
UTAS Author:Nelson, MR (Professor Mark Nelson)
ID Code:145656
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:8
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2021-07-29
Last Modified:2021-07-29

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