Aspirin




Aspirin is the common name of the drug acetylsalicylic acid. In fact, aspirin is a brand name owned by the pharmaceutical company Bayer, though the drug can now be made by anyone.

As an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug), aspirin is often taken to relieve pain, reduce fever, and minimize swelling. It is also used as an anti-platelet drug to prevent blood clots and as a preventative measure in people suffering from a heart condition.

If you need to know more about NSAIDs, take a look at this: What are NSAIDs?

Availability

Aspirin is an over the counter medication. It’s sold worldwide.

Aspirin Dosage

Aspirin is not generally considered safe for children. It should only be given to a child under the age of 12 under a doctor’s supervision. If aspirin is used for a specific condition, the dosage is usually dependent on the child’s weight.

As a preventative medicine, aspirin is given in low doses. These doses range from 75 mg to 325 mg per day.

As a pain medication, 325 mg to 600 mg Can be taken at a time. This dosage is generally safe to take every four hours, but the total daily dose shouldn’t exceed 4 g (4000 mg) in a single day.

High dose aspirin is prescribed for certain chronic conditions. Individual doses are typically 1 g (1000 g) at a time up to 3 g or 4 g a day. This higher dose aspirin is typically a longer release formula.

Common Uses Of Aspirin

Headaches

This is the classic use of aspirin. It’s been used for over a hundred years as a headache medication. However, as the stomach side effects of aspirin can be stronger than other NSAID, it’s not a popular as other NSAIDs for migraine headaches. An exception is the combination of aspirin, acetaminophen (paracetamol) and caffeine found in Excedrin (a trademark of Bayer).

Cold/Flu

Aspirin is also commonly taken to relieve the aches, sore throat, and fever associated with the common cold.

Preventative Heart Care

Low-dose aspirin is often prescribed to people who suffer from various heart conditions, and it’s been shown to reduce the chances of recurring stroke and heart attack. Recent studies have shown, however, that among people wh haven’t developed any heart disease, aspirin doesn’t significantly reduce the risk of developing heart disease.

Rheumatic Fever

In high doses, aspirin is effective in treating acute rheumatic fever. It can have results in as little as a few days.

Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki disease is a rare disease affecting children’s blood vessels. This is one of the conditions where aspirin is recommended for children. Any aspirin can be dangerous for children, but in this case it serves to thin the blood, treat the inflammation, and reduce the fever. It should only be administered by a doctor.

Click here for more information about common uses of NSAIDs.

Side Effects of Aspirin

The most common side effects of aspirin are related to the stomach and intestines. Generally the side effects are mild and don’t continue after the body uses up and eliminates the drug.

The most common side effects aren’t cause for alarm unless they are unbearable or continue even if you are no longer taking aspirin. They are as follows:

  • heartburn
  • nausea
  • upset stomach

Occasionally there are more severe side effects. If any of these appear, it’s important to stop using aspirin and to see a doctor as soon as possible.

  • allergic reaction (as a rash, itchy skin, difficulty breathing, or swelling in the mouth, face, fingers, and toes)
  • diarrhea or vomiting
  • black or bloody bowel movements
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • ringing in the ears or hearing loss
  • unusual bruising or excessive bleeding

As a special note on side effects, aspirin is one of the few NSAIDs that does not cause high blood pressure or increased chances of cardiovascular disease. Most other NSAIDs affect heart health with chronic use.

Click here for more information about NSAIDs side effects.

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