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.
Aspirin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Important information about aspirin
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 aspirin
Do not give this medication 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 this medicine 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.
To make sure aspirin 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;
- heart disease, high blood pressure, or congestive heart failure;
- gout; or
- nasal polyps.
Aspirin 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 this medicine.
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?
Use 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 aspirin. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.
Do not take this medication if you smell a strong vinegar odor in the aspirin bottle. The medicine may no longer be effective.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Since aspirin is used when needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are on a schedule, use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine.
What should I avoid while taking aspirin?
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 drinking alcohol while you are taking this medicine. 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 aspirin 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).
Aspirin side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these 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. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect aspirin?
Ask your doctor before using aspirin if you take an antidepressant such as citalopram, escitalopram, fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline (Zoloft), trazodone, or vilazodone. Taking any of these medicines with an NSAID may cause you to bruise or bleed easily.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use this medicine if you are also using any of the following drugs:
- a blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin), or other medication used to prevent blood clots; or
- other salicylates such as Nuprin Backache Caplet, Kaopectate, KneeRelief, Pamprin Cramp Formula, Pepto-Bismol, Tricosal, Trilisate, and others.
This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with aspirin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.