Possible Crohn's risk for regular aspirin users
Though there are likely to be many causes of Crohn's disease, previous work on tissue samples has shown that aspirin can have a harmful effect on the bowel. To investigate this potential link further, a University of East Anglia team followed 200,000 volunteers aged 30-74 in the UK, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and Italy. The volunteers had been recruited for the EPIC study (European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition) between 1993 and 1997.
The volunteers were all initially well, but by 2004 a small number had developed Crohn's disease. When looking for differences in aspirin use between those who did and did not develop the disease, the researchers discovered that those taking aspirin regularly for a year or more were around five times more likely to develop Crohn's disease.
The study also showed that aspirin use had no effect on the risk of developing ulcerative colitis - a condition similar to Crohn's disease.
"Aspirin does have many beneficial effects,' said Dr Andrew Hart who led the investigation, ' 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."
Click here for more research on Crohn's disease
First published in May 2010
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