What is aspirin?
Aspirin is a salicylate (sa-LIS-il-ate). It works by reducing substances in the body that cause pain, fever, and inflammation.
Aspirin is used to treat pain, and reduce fever or inflammation. It is sometimes used to treat or prevent heart attacks, strokes, and chest pain (angina).
Aspirin should be used for cardiovascular conditions only under the supervision of a doctor.
You should not use aspirin if you have a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia, a recent history of stomach or intestinal bleeding, or if you are allergic to an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) such as Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Orudis, Indocin, Lodine, Voltaren, Toradol, Mobic, Relafen, Feldene, and others.
Do not give this medication to a child or teenager with a fever, flu symptoms, or chicken pox. Salicylates can cause Reye’s syndrome, a serious and sometimes fatal condition in children.
Before taking this medicine
Do not give this medicine to a child or teenager with a fever, flu symptoms, or chicken pox. Aspirin can cause Reye’s syndrome, a serious and sometimes fatal condition in children.
You should not use aspirin if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
- a recent history of stomach or intestinal bleeding;
- a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia; or
- if you have ever had an asthma attack or severe allergic reaction after taking aspirin or an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) such as Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Orudis, Indocin, Lodine, Voltaren, Toradol, Mobic, Relafen, Feldene, and others.
To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- asthma or seasonal allergies;
- stomach ulcers;
- liver disease;
- kidney disease;
- a bleeding or blood clotting disorder;
- gout; or
- heart disease, high blood pressure, or congestive heart failure.
Taking aspirin during late pregnancy may cause bleeding in the mother or the baby during delivery. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Aspirin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while using this medicine.
How should I take aspirin?
Take aspirin exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Take with food if aspirin upsets your stomach.
Do not crush, chew, break, or open an enteric-coated or delayed-release pill. Swallow it whole.
The chewable tablet form must be chewed before swallowing.
If you use the orally disintegrating tablet or the dispersible tablet, follow all dosing instructions provided with your medicine.
If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using this medicine. You may need to stop using it for a short time.
Do not take this medicine if you smell a strong vinegar odor in the bottle. The medicine may no longer be effective.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What should I avoid while taking aspirin?
Avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking aspirin. Alcohol may increase your risk of stomach bleeding.
If you are taking this medicine to prevent heart attack or stroke, avoid also taking ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Ibuprofen may make this medicine less effective. If you must use both medications, take the ibuprofen at least 8 hours before or 30 minutes after you take the aspirin (non-enteric coated form).
Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using any cold, allergy, or pain medication. Many medicines available over the counter contain aspirin or an NSAID. Taking certain products together can cause you to get too much of this type of medication. Check the label to see if a medicine contains aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, naproxen, or an NSAID.
Aspirin side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to aspirin: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:
- ringing in your ears, confusion, hallucinations, rapid breathing, seizure (convulsions);
- severe nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain;
- bloody or tarry stools, coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;
- fever lasting longer than 3 days; or
- swelling, or pain lasting longer than 10 days.
Common aspirin side effects may include:
- upset stomach, heartburn;
- drowsiness; or
- mild headache.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.