Trial finds aspirin does not speed leg ulcer healing

November 28, 2017, University of Auckland

Suggestions that aspirin may help treat venous leg ulcers have been rebutted by University of Auckland research, leaving the sufferers with compression therapy, a treatment known since the 17th Century.

Venous ulcers are chronic wounds of the lower leg. They are more common in older people. District nurses and general practitioners manage most venous ulcers in the community. They are often painful, disabling and very slow to heal.

About 1 percent of the adult population will develop a venous leg ulcer during any one year. Compression therapy, either in the form of bandage systems or hosiery, is the main treatment. But in of about half the participants remain unhealed after three months of treatment.

Some evidence suggested might increase venous ulcer healing, but a new just published in the British Medical Journal challenges that view.

Funded by the New Zealand Health Research Council and conducted by researchers at the University's National Institute for Health Innovation, Aspirin4VLU trial found 150 mg aspirin a day in addition to compression bandaging did not increase venous ulcer healing.

Seven out of every 10 people with leg ulcers who took aspirin healed within six months compared with eight out of every 10 people in the placebo group.

Associate Professor Andrew Jull who led the trial says while he had hoped aspirin might help with healing, it is still good news. "It means people who have a venous leg ulcer and who have to take aspirin for other reasons still heal at a pretty good rate if they use compression."

The researchers recruited 251 participants through community nursing services in Dunedin, Christchurch, the Waikato, Counties Manukau and Auckland district health boards over two years from 2015.

"We will shortly be getting in touch with the participants to let them and their doctors know which drug they were taking," says Dr Jull. "We remain very grateful to those people who came forward to be part of the study – without them we would not have the evidence to help others."

Aspirin4VLU is the world's largest aspirin trial yet conducted for patients with venous ulcers and the only trial of .

Explore further: Aspirin to improve leg ulcers

More information: Andrew Jull et al. Low dose aspirin as adjuvant treatment for venous leg ulceration: pragmatic, randomised, double blind, placebo controlled trial (Aspirin4VLU), BMJ (2017). DOI: 10.1136/bmj.j5157

Related Stories

Aspirin to improve leg ulcers

May 25, 2015
Researchers are looking at whether aspirin can improve the healing rates of leg ulcers in older adults.

Exercise may benefit patients with leg ulcers

November 9, 2017
A preliminary British Journal of Dermatology study suggests that ulcers in the legs may heal faster with exercise.

Platelet-rich plasma effective for chronic venous leg ulcers

August 29, 2017
(HealthDay)—For patients with chronic venous leg ulcers, autologous platelet-rich plasma (PRP) is safe and effective, with highly significant improvement in ulcer size compared to conventional treatment, according to a ...

Stockings perform better than bandages to treat leg ulcers

December 5, 2013
A new study has found that leg ulcers take the same time to heal when people wear compression stockings rather than traditional bandages.

Improved leg ulcer healing with hair follicle punch graft

October 25, 2016
(HealthDay)—For patients with venous leg ulcers, ulcer healing is significantly increased using hair follicle punch scalp grafts, according to a study published in the November issue of the Journal of the American Academy ...

Recommended for you

Study shows how MERS coronavirus evolves to infect different species

August 14, 2018
In the past 15 years, two outbreaks of severe respiratory disease were caused by coronaviruses transmitted from animals to humans. In 2003, SARS-CoV (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus) spread from civets to infect ...

Inching closer to a soft spot in isoniazid-resistant tuberculosis

August 14, 2018
Antibiotic-resistant tuberculosis is a public health threat. TB and other bacteria become resistant to antibiotics by evolving genetic changes over time, which they can do quite quickly because bacterial lifecycles are short. ...

How long is an Ebola survivor contagious? One case is causing scientists to rethink the answer.

August 14, 2018
Surviving Ebola isn't like getting over the flu.

Why do women get more migraines?

August 14, 2018
Research published today reveals a potential mechanism for migraine causation which could explain why women get more migraines than men. The study, in Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences, suggests that sex hormones affect ...

Link between common 'harmless' virus and cardiovascular damage

August 13, 2018
Researchers from Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) have found an unexpectedly close link between a herpes virus and the occurrence of immune cells damaging cardiovascular tissue.

Rotavirus vaccine cuts infant diarrhoea deaths by a third in Malawi

August 11, 2018
A major new study has shown that rotavirus vaccination reduced infant diarrhoea deaths by 34% in rural Malawi, a region with high levels of child deaths.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.