Posted on Jun 01, 2010, 6 a.m.
Long-term users of aspirin have been found to have a significantly higher risk of developing Crohn's disease.
Research suggests that people who take aspirin regularly for 12-months or more may be significantly increasing their risk of developing Crohn's disease. Dr Andrew Hart and colleagues at the University of East Anglia (UK) followed more than 200,000 people who had taken part in the EPIC (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) study between 1993 and 1997. Results showed that participants who reported taking aspirin regularly for a year or more were around 5-times more likely to develop Crohn's disease. "This is early work but our findings do suggest that the regular use of aspirin could be one of many factors which influences the development of this distressing disease in some patients," said Dr Hart. "Aspirin does have many beneficial effects, however, including helping to prevent heart attacks and strokes. I would urge aspirin users to continue taking this medication since the risk of aspirin users possibly developing Crohn's disease remains very low - only one in every 2000 users, and the link is not yet finally proved." Crohn's disease affects around 500,000 people in the US. It is a debilitating disease that is characterized by inflammation and swelling of any part of the digestive system, and requires patients to take life-long medication. Some patients need surgery and some sufferers have an increased risk of bowel cancer.
Andrew Hart. Paper presented at: Digestive Disease Week 2010; May 10, 2010; New Orleans.