Drug Name : Aspirin
What is aspirin?
Aspirin is a salicylate drug that works by reducing the production of compounds that cause pain, inflammation and fever. It is also used in the treatment of heart attacks and strokes.
When should it be taken?
Aspirin must be taken upon prescription by a registered health care professional. It is available in different doses.
How should it be taken?
Aspirin should always be taken after food with plenty of water. This is because it can cause acidity if taken on an empty stomach. Patients who are taking aspirin sometimes take antacids to help prevent acidity.
Do not crush or chew enteric coated aspirin (Ecosprin) tablets unless advised. It can be ineffective if taken this way.
Soluble aspirin can be dissolved in water first before drinking it.
Chewable aspirin must be chewed before swallowing.
Make sure you always take the prescribed dose and no more than what is recommended.
When should aspirin be avoided?
There are many conditions where aspirin should be avoided. However, doctors may sometimes prescribe them if the benefit of taking them is greater than the risk.
Some of these conditions include –
- Recent bleeding within the stomach or intestine
- Presence of bleeding disorders such as hemophilia
- Young children – Aspirin can cause a serious condition called Reye’s syndrome. It should only be given if a doctor thinks it is appropriate.
- History of allergic responses to Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) such as diclofenac, ibuprofen etc.
- Used with caution in patients with bronchial asthma
Sometimes aspirin may need to be stopped a few days before surgery in order to prevent excessive bleeding during the operation.
What are the side effects?
Side effects are rare and can include –
- Increased stomach acidity, leading to a bloated sensation and constant belching
- Rare cases may develop a bleeding stomach ulcer that requires urgent treatment
- Allergic reactions due to hypersensitivity can cause breathing difficulty, itchy skin and redness of the eye
- Small amount of bruising under the skin brought on by mild trauma
If you develop any of these side effects, make sure you see your doctor as soon as possible.
Available forms and dosage
Aspirin is available in a chewable, dissolvable and enteric coated form.
It is available in 75mg, 81 mg, 150 mg and 325 mg doses.
It is also available in combination with drugs such as Clopidogrel and Atorvastatin.