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Participants wanted for low dose aspirin trial

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Participants are wanted for a new treatment for venous ulcers that may help healing when used with compression bandages.

Associate Professor Andrew Jull at the University of Auckland’s National Institute for Health Innovation is leading a trial of low dose aspirin taken daily by people with venous ulcers using compression bandages. The low dose means that older people will be able to take part in the trial.

Venous ulcers are chronic wounds of the lower leg that are more common in older people. As New Zealand’s population ages more people are expected to present with venous ulcers.

District nurses and general practitioners manage most venous ulcers in the community. The mainstay treatment has not changed since the seventeenth century - putting the affected leg in tight compression bandages or stockings. There are few other available treatments.

"One treatment that might have an added effect when used with compression bandages is aspirin," says Associate Professor Jull. "Two trials overseas suggested 300 mg aspirin taken daily might speed up healing, but this dose is not recommended in elderly people as it increases the risk of bleeding."

Low dose aspirin capsules have been made especially for the trial as they are not available in New Zealand. Patients will be randomly allocated into two groups; one will take the low dose aspirin and the other will take a placebo capsule (with no aspirin).

"Neither the patient, GP, nor researchers, will know who is taking which capsule," he says.

The study is called Aspirin4VLU trial and has started recruiting through the wound care specialist at Dunedin hospital (Southern DHB) and Nurse Maude clinic in Christchurch. Very soon the trial team will be ready to start recruiting through District Nursing in Auckland, Counties Manukau, and Waikato District Health Boards.

"We are aiming to recruit 354 participants over the next two years" says Dr Jull. "A key concern is the safety of participants - only patients who are safe to take aspirin or the placebo can take part in the trial. That means patients who are already on or who cannot take aspirin won’t be able to take part in the study."

No patient will be able to start the trial until the research nurses have checked with the patient’s GP that the patient can go-ahead. The nurses at each study centre will be working to establish the necessary relationships with patients’ GPs so they are informed about the trial and the patient’s progress.

The trial is funded by the Health Research Council NZ. People interested in taking part in the trial can talk with their district nurse if they live in an area covered by one of the study centres.

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