Aspirin (Acetylsalicylic acid)

Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) is more commonly known as aspirin and is a mild painkiller and anti-coagulant.

Pronunciation: AS-pir-in

What are aspirin’s uses?

Aspirin is used to treat mild to moderate pain and reduce fever.

Other aspirin benefits are its role as an anti-inflammatory and preventing blood clot formation. An aspirin blood thinner is prescribed to patients at high risk of heart attacks and strokes. It’s also often given immediately after a heart attack to prevent recurrence.

What dosage should you take?

Very low doses of aspirin (75mg) can be effective. A typical daily dose is between 81mg to 325mg (a regular strength tablet).

If you have had a heart attack or have had a heart stent placed, it is very important to take aspirin and any other blood-thinning medications exactly as recommended.

Always check the correct dosages with your Clicks pharmacist first.

What special precautions should you take?

  • Taking more than the recommended dose of aspirin increases the risk of irritation to your stomach lining.
  • Combining aspirin and alcohol should be avoided.
  • Children and teenagers should not take aspirin if they have chickenpox, flu, or any undiagnosed illness or if they have recently received a vaccine. In these cases, taking aspirin increases the risk of Reye’s syndrome, a rare but serious illness.
  • Taking aspirin during pregnancy is not recommended.
  • Taking it while breastfeeding is not recommended as aspirin passes into breast milk.

Aspirin should be used with caution if you suffer from the following conditions:

  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Growths in the nose (nasal polyps)
  • Gout
  • Certain enzyme deficiencies (pyruvate kinase or G6PD deficiency)

Aspirin should be avoided if you suffer from the following conditions:

What drug interactions could you experience?

To avoid adverse drug interactions, always inform your doctor or Clicks pharmacist what prescription and non-prescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements and herbal products you are taking or planning to take.

What are aspirin’s side effects?

Side effects could include:

  • Upset stomach and heartburn
  • Easy bruising/bleeding
  • Difficulty hearing
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Change in the amount of urine or dark urine
  • Persistent or severe nausea/vomiting
  • Unexplained tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Yellowing eyes/skin

This is not a complete list of side effects. It’s essential that you call your doctor should you notice any severe or odd side effects.

What are the overdose symptoms?

Symptoms of acute overdose include:

  • Upset stomach and stomach pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Ulcer
  • Gastritis (inflammation of the stomach lining)

Call your doctor or an ambulance immediately if you suspect an overdose.

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in April 2015