Why is ASCEND not doing regular blood tests?
Your GP or practice nurse regularly monitors your blood and urine tests in order to ensure your are given the most appropriate treatment for your diabetes. ASCEND aims to find out whether adding aspirin, and/or omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils), to usual treatment for diabetes safely helps to protect against heart attacks and strokes. Regular blood tests would not help the study to answer this important question.
At the beginning of the study, whether each participant received aspirin or placebo (dummy) tablets was determined randomly (like tossing a coin). At the end of the study what happened to the participants who were allocated to receive active aspirin will be compared with what happened to those who were allocated to receive placebo. In particular, the number of people in each group who suffered a heart attack or a stroke and the number of people who developed a serious bleeding problem will be compared. Similarly, what happened to those allocated to receive the omega-3 fatty acids will be compared to what happened to those allocated to receive the olive oil. ASCEND did collect blood tests from some participants at the beginning of the study which will be used to see if the effects of the study treatments are similar in different groups of people with diabetes (for example those with well controlled or less well controlled diabetes).