Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory pain medication. A small dose of aspirin may be used to ensure sufficient blood flow to the brain and prevent stroke. Aspirin may also be taken to decrease recurrence of a heart attack or other heart problems. In this respect it acts as a antiplatelet drug; a medicine that helps keep blood platelets from sticking together and forming clots. Clots can become dangerous when they form inside your arteries. These clots form when blood platelets stick together, forming a blockage within your arteries, restricting blood flow to your heart or brain, causing a heart attack or stroke.
The medicine is prescribed for patients who have:
- had a recent heart attack
- had a recent stroke
- poor circulation in their legs (peripheral artery disease)
The drug is also prescribed as a preventive measure for blood cloths, heart attacks, and strokes.
Cautions and Warnings
There is a potential risk of gastrointestinal bleeding when taking this medicine. Therefore this medicine should be used with caution in patients who have lesions that may bleed, along with patients who take drugs that cause such lesions.
You may bleed more easily and it may take you longer than usual to stop bleeding when you take this medicine alone or in combination with another antiplatelet drug.
Before using this medicine
Before you use this medicine check with your doctor, or pharmacist:
- if you ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine
- if you have a gastrointestinal ulcer
- if you have a stomach ulcer
- if you have a history of bleeding conditions
The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Adults: the recommended dose is 1 tablet (40 or 81 mg) daily. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor’s approval.
Prevention of heart attack: The usual dose if 1 tablet daily.
Along with the needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Possible side effects include:
- Blood in stool
- Stomach pain
- Stomach upset
The following symptoms may be a sign of overdose:
- Rapid and deep breathing
- Ringing of buzzing in the ears
- Rapid heartbeat
Call a doctor or hospital emergency room for instructions. If necessary start first aid immediately.
People taking anticoagulant (blood-thinning) drugs should avoid aspirin because it increases the effect of the anticoagulant.
Aspirin may increase blood levels of methotrexate and valproic acid when taken with either of these drugs, leading to increased chances of drug toxicity.
Do not take aspirin with an NSAID. There is no benefit to the combination, and the chance of side effects – especially stomach irritation – is vastly increased.
Be sure to tell your doctor about any medications you are currently taking.
Capsules, tablets, etc. should be stored at room temperature; store away from heat and direct light. Keep out of reach of children, since this medicine may be dangerous in children.