Aspirin Does Not Improve Survival for Hospitalised COVID-19 Patients

Administering aspirin to critically ill COVID-19 patients does not boost their odds of surviving the virus, results from a major trial studying the commonly used painkiller and blood thinner showed this week.

In the RECOVERY study, University of Oxford scientists hoped that aspirin would work because it cuts the risk of blood clots — a common and deadly complication of the virus. COVID-19 patients are at a higher risk of blood clots forming in their blood vessels, particularly in the lungs.

Joint chief investigator Martin Landray, professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford, said that there has been a strong suggestion that blood clotting may be responsible for deteriorating lung function and death in patients with severe COVID-19.

“Aspirin is inexpensive and widely used in other diseases to reduce the risk of blood clots so it is disappointing that it did not have a major impact for these patients.

“This is why large randomised trials are so important – to establish which treatments work and which do not.”

The trial –  which is looking into a range of potential treatments for hospitalised COVID-19 patients –  monitored 15,000 patients infected with coronavirus across 176 hospital sites. 

‘No Evidence’ of Reduced Deaths

A total of 7,351 patients were given one 150mg aspirin tablet each day between November 2020 and March 2021. The trial also monitored a control group of 7,541 participants hospitalised with COVID-19 who were not given the drug.

The researchers found ‘no evidence’ that aspirin reduced death, as 17% of people died in both groups and there was no obvious reduction in the aspirin group.

But the study did find that the patients who were given aspirin had a slightly shorter hospital stay – eight days versus nine days – and a higher proportion were discharged from hospital alive within 28 days (75% vs 74%).

“The data show that in patients hospitalised with Covid-19, aspirin was not associated with reductions in 28-day mortality or in the risk of progressing to invasive mechanical ventilation or death,” said Peter Horby, professor of emerging infectious diseases in the Nuffield Department of Medicine, and the other joint chief investigator.

“Although aspirin was associated with a small increase in the likelihood of being discharged alive this does not seem to be sufficient to justify its widespread use for patients hospitalised with Covid-19.”

The RECOVERY trial is ongoing and continually trying new treatments for patients with coronavirus.

The results of the study will be published shortly on medRxiv and have been submitted to a leading peer-reviewed medical journal.


Image Credits: University Health News .

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