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Aspirin

Brand Names: Aspergum, Bayer Children’s, Bufferin, Easprin, Ecotrin, Empirin, Genprin, Genuine Bayer, Halfprin, Magnaprin, ZORprin
Drug Class: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID); analgesic; anticoagulant
Available in: Tablets, capsules
Available Without a Prescription? Yes
Available as a Generic? Yes

Side Effects

Serious: Vomiting, agitation, extreme fatigue, confusion; allergic reaction causing troubled breathing, redness of face, itching, swelling of face, lips, or eyelids. These are symptoms of Reye’s syndrome, a rare but serious disorder that is most likely to affect people under the age of 16. Seek emergency medical attention immediately.

Common: Stomach upset, rash, nausea, ringing in the ears.

Less Common: Insomnia

Principal Uses

For mild to moderate everyday pain and inflammation; to reduce fever; to prevent the formation of blood clots, a primary cause of heart attack, stroke, and other circulatory problems; to ease the inflammation, joint pain, and stiffness associated with arthritis.

How the Drug Works

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin inhibit the release of chemicals in the body called prostaglandins, which play a role in inflammation, though it is unknown exactly how they exert their pain-relieving, fever-reducing, and anti-inflammatory effects.

Dosage

For pain or fever: 325 to 650 mg every 4 hours as needed. For prevention of blood clots: 80 to 100 mg daily or every other day. For arthritis: 3,600 to 5,400 mg daily in divided doses.

Onset of Effect

30 minutes.

Duration of Action

For pain relief, up to 4 hours.

Dietary Advice

Swallow aspirin with food or a full glass of water to lessen stomach irritation.

Storage

Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat and direct light.

If You Miss a Dose

For pain and fever, take a missed dose as soon as you remember, then wait 4 hours for your next dose. For arthritis, take the aspirin as soon as you remember up to 2 hours late, then return to your regular schedule.

Stopping the Drug

For pain and fever, stop when relief is achieved. For arthritis and blood clotting, consult your doctor about stopping.

Prolonged Use

Talk to your doctor about the need for medical examinations or laboratory tests if you must take aspirin regularly for a prolonged period.

Precautions

Over 60: Gastrointestinal bleeding and irritation are more likely to occur in older persons.

Driving and Hazardous Work: The use of aspirin should not impair your ability to perform such tasks safely.

Alcohol: Alcohol intake should be limited because it increases the risk of stomach irritation and bleeding.

Pregnancy: Do not use aspirin during the last 3 months of pregnancy unless prescribed by your doctor.

Breast Feeding: Aspirin passes into breast milk. Avoid it or do not nurse.

Infants and Children: Do not give aspirin to children under age 16 unless your doctor instructs otherwise, since it may cause a very rare but life-threatening condition known as Reye’s syndrome.

Overdose

Symptoms: Nausea, disorientation, seizures, vomiting, rapid breathing, fever.

What to Do: Call your doctor, emergency medical services (EMS), or the nearest poison control center immediately.

Drug Interactions

Consult your doctor before taking aspirin if you currently take a blood pressure medication, a medication for gout, an arthritis drug, an anticoagulant such as warfarin, a diabetes medication, a steroid, or an antiseizure medication.

Food Interactions

No known adverse food interactions. Taking aspirin with caffeine-containing foods or beverages may actually enhance the medicine’s pain-relieving effects.

Disease Interactions

Consult your doctor about taking aspirin if you have asthma, a bleeding disorder, heart failure, diabetes, gout, hemophilia, high blood pressure, kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid disease, or a peptic ulcer.

 

From The Johns Hopkins Consumer Guide to Drugs. You can order this book now on our secure server.


 


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2005
WHITE PAPERS
Hypertension & Stroke

The Hypertension & Stroke White Paper from The Johns Hopkins White Papers series is an annual, in-depth report written by Hopkins physicians.


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Johns Hopkins Consumer Guide to Drugs

Find out everything you need to know about medications for arthritis and other conditions in The Johns Hopkins Consumer Guide to Drugs.

 

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