What is aspirin?

Aspirin is in a group of drugs called salicylates (sa-LIS-il-ates). It works by reducing substances in the body that cause pain, fever, and inflammation.

Aspirin is used to treat mild to moderate pain, and also to reduce fever or inflammation. Aspirin 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.

Aspirin may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Precautions

Aspirin should not be given to a child or teenager who has a fever, especially if the child also has flu symptoms or chicken pox. Aspirin can cause a serious and sometimes fatal condition called Reye's syndrome in children.

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to aspirin, or if you have:

  • a recent history of stomach or intestinal bleeding;
  • a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia; or
  • an allergy to an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) such as Advil, Motrin, Aleve, Orudis, Indocin, Lodine, Voltaren, Toradol, Mobic, Relafen, Feldene, and others.

Before taking aspirin, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • asthma or seasonal allergies;
  • stomach ulcers;
  • liver disease;
  • kidney disease;
  • a bleeding or blood clotting disorder;
  • heart disease, high blood pressure, or congestive heart failure;
  • gout; or
  • nasal polyps.

If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take aspirin.

If you are taking aspirin to prevent heart attack or stroke, avoid also taking ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Ibuprofen may make aspirin less effective in protecting your heart and blood vessels. 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).

This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby’s heart, and may also reduce birth weight or have other dangerous effects. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while you are taking aspirin.

Aspirin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not use any other over-the-counter medication without first asking your doctor or pharmacist. Aspirin is contained in many medicines available over the counter. If you take certain products together you may accidentally take too much aspirin. Read the label of any other medicine you are using to see if it contains aspirin.

Avoid taking an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) while you are taking aspirin. NSAIDs include ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil), diclofenac (Voltaren), diflunisal (Dolobid), etodolac (Lodine), flurbiprofen (Ansaid), indomethacin (Indocin), ketoprofen (Orudis), ketorolac (Toradol), mefenamic acid (Ponstel), meloxicam (Mobic), nabumetone (Relafen), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), piroxicam (Feldene), and others.

Avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking aspirin. Alcohol may increase your risk of stomach bleeding.

Avoid taking ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) if you are taking aspirin to prevent stroke or heart attack. Ibuprofen can make aspirin less effective in protecting your heart and blood vessels. 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).

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Instructions

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.

Overdose symptoms may include ringing in your ears, headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, hallucinations, rapid breathing, fever, seizure (convulsions), or coma.

Since aspirin is often used as needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are using the medication regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and wait until your next regularly scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

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Side Effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

  • black, bloody, or tarry stools;
  • coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds;
  • severe nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain;
  • fever lasting longer than 3 days;
  • swelling, or pain lasting longer than 10 days; or
  • hearing problems, ringing in your ears.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • upset stomach, heartburn;
  • drowsiness; or
  • headache.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Interactions

Tell your doctor if you are taking an antidepressant such as citalopram (Celexa), duloxetine (Cymbalta), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, Symbyax), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), or venlafaxine (Effexor). Taking any of these drugs with aspirin may cause you to bruise or bleed easily.

Before taking aspirin, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

  • a blood thinner such as warfarin (Coumadin); or
  • another salicylate such as choline salicylate and/or magnesium salicylate (Magan, Doan's, Bayer Select Backache Pain Formula, Mobidin, Arthropan, Trilisate, Tricosal), or salsalate (Disalcid).

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with aspirin. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

Other Names

aspirin, ASA, Acetylsalicylic Acid, Acuprin 81, Arthritis Pain, Ascriptin Enteric, Aspergum Cherry, Aspergum Orginal, Aspir-Low, Aspirin Lite Coat, Aspirin Litecoat, Aspirin Low Strength, Aspirtab, Bayer Aspirin, Bayer Aspirin Regimen, Bayer Aspirin with Calcium, Bayer Childrens Aspirin, Bayer Low Strength, Bayer Plus, Buffered Aspirin, Bufferin, Bufferin Arthritis Strength, Bufferin Extra Strength, Buffex, Easprin, Ecotrin, Ecotrin Adult Low Strength, Ecotrin Maximum Strength, Entaprin, Entercote, Extra Strength Bayer, Genacote, Gennin-FC, Genprin, Halfprin, Litecoat Aspirin, Low Dose ASA, Minitabs, Norwich Aspirin, Sloprin, St. Joseph Aspirin, St. Joseph Aspirin Adult Chewable, St. Joseph Aspirin Adult EC, Stanback Analgesic, Therapy Bayer, Tri-Buffered Aspirin, YSP Aspirin, Zero-Order Release, Zorprin, Empirin, Fasprin, Aspir 81, Aspirin Low Dose, Bayer Aspirin Sugar Free, Bayer Aspirin with Heart Advantage, and Bayer Low Dose

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Disclaimer

Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2004 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version 2.05. Revision date 8/23/04

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