Engaging GPs and primary care patients in research: implications of the ASPREE trial for future studies

James P Sheppard and Chris Butler
Med J Aust 2019; 210 (4): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50023
Published online: 4 March 2019

A clinical research network would facilitate routinely including primary care patients in large clinical trials

Although aspirin‐containing medications prevent cardiovascular events,1 meta‐analyses of randomised trials have found that, overall, they do more harm than good when used for primary prevention.2 The recently published ASPREE trial3,4,5 confirmed that this holds true for older people without cardiovascular disease, dementia or physical disability. The well conducted trial — with 19 114 participants, the largest ever undertaken in Australia — found no benefit for treatment with low dose aspirin (compared with placebo) in terms of disability‐free survival,3 cardiovascular disease4 or fatal cancer.5 However, there was evidence of harm, with an increased risk of death and bleeding among participants receiving aspirin.4,5

  • James P Sheppard
  • Chris Butler

  • Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom


James Sheppard receives funding from the Wellcome Trust/Royal Society (Sir Henry Dale Fellowship, 211182/Z/18/Z). Chris Butler is a National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Senior Investigator.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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