Aspirin: Overview, Types, History, Uses, Side Effects, Risks and More

Aspirin

Aspirin is a common medicine used to help with small pains, and fevers. It can also reduce swelling and thinness in the blood. You can buy aspirin without a prescription. People often use it for headaches, swelling, and fevers. If taken every day, aspirin can lower the chance of heart disease like heart attacks and stroke for those at high risk. Doctors might give aspirin right after a heart attack to stop more clots and damage to the heart. For more research you can also visit Healthline.

What is Aspirin?

Aspirin is a type of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It was the first drug of this kind to be discovered. It has salicylate, a substance found in plants like willow trees and myrtle. People have been using it for around 4,000 years. Hippocrates used willow bark to help with pain and fevers, and some people still use it for headaches and minor pain today. NSAIDs help with:

  • Pain relief
  • Reducing fever
  • Lowering inflammation (in higher dose)

These drugs are not steroids. Steroids can have similar benefits but may not be suitable for everyone and can have unwanted side effects. NSAIDs, like it, do not cause a loss of consciousness or a stupor. It is a trademark owned by the German drug company Bayer. The generic name for aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid.

What is the History of Aspirin?

It is the most widely used drug in the world today and one of the most significant medical achievements of the 20th century. Its history dates back over 3500 years, when willow bark was used as a pain reliever and fever reducer by the Sumerians and Egyptians, and later by ancient Greek and Roman physicians. The modern history of its main ingredients, salicylates, began in 1763 with Reverend Stone, who first noted their fever-reducing effects. In the 19th century, many researchers worked on extracting and chemically synthesizing these compounds. In 1897, Bayer chemist Felix Hoffmann synthesized aspirin. About 70 years later, pharmacologist John Vane explained how aspirin works by stopping the production of prostaglandins. Initially used to reduce fever and inflammation, aspirin later became crucial for its ability to prevent blood clots, making it important in preventing heart attacks and strokes. Today, aspirin is also being studied for its potential to prevent colorectal and other cancers, with ongoing trials investigating this use.

What are the Types of Aspirin?

Here are some different types of it, such as:

  • Ascriptin
  • Aspergum
  • Aspritab
  • Bayer
  • Easprin
  • Ecotrin
  • Ecpirin
  • Entrecote
  • Genacote
  • Halfprin
  • Ninoprin
  • Norwich Aspirin

What are the Uses of Aspirin?

It has many uses, such as relieving pain and swelling, managing different conditions, and lowering the risk of heart problems in people at high risk. Here, we describe these uses in more detail.

Pain and Swelling:

It can help with mild to moderate pain and swelling from various health issues, including:

For severe pain, a doctor might suggest using it with another medicine like an opioid pain reliever or another NSAID.

Preventing Cardiovascular Events:

Using low-dose aspirin daily can lower the risk of heart problems in some people but it is not safe for everyone. The FDA recommends using aspirin this way only under a doctor’s supervision. In people at high risk of heart problems, low-dose aspirin can help prevent blood clots. A doctor might suggest daily low dose it for people who:   

For people without these issues, the risk of taking it long-term may be greater than the benefits. The 2016 recommendations from the United States Preventive Services Task Force say that adults aged 50-59 may take aspirin daily to prevent colorectal cancer and heart disease. This advice is for adults in this age range who:

  • Have at least a 10% chance of heart disease over 10 years
  • Do not have a high risk of bleeding
  • Have a life expectancy of at least 10 years
  • Are willing to take a daily low dose for at least 10 years

Treating Coronary Events:

Doctors might give it right after a heart attack, stroke, or another heart problem to stop more clots from forming and to protect heart issues. It can also be part of the treatment for people who have recently had:

  • Revascularization surgery, like an angioplasty or coronary bypass surgery
  • A mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack)
  • An ischemic stroke caused by a blood clot

Other Uses of Aspirin: 

It can also help with pain and swelling from chronic health conditions like:

  • Rheumatic conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and other inflammatory joint conditions
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Inflammation around the heart

Doctors might recommend low-dose it to people:

  • With retinal damage (retinopathy)
  • Who have had diabetes for more than 10 years
  • Who are taking medications for high blood pressure
  • With the risk of colorectal cancer

What are the Side Effects of Aspirin?

The most common side effects of it are:

  • Stomach or gut irritation
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea

Less common side effects include:

  • Worsening asthma symptoms
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach inflammation
  • Stomach bleeding
  • Bruising

It can also have very serious side effects, such as:

  • Bleeding in the brain and stomach
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver disease
  • Hemorrhagic strokes (a rare side effects of daily low-dose aspirin)

What are the Risks and Precautions of Aspirin?

People with following conditions should be careful about taking it and should only do so if a doctor recommends it:

  • Bleeding disorder like hemophilia
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Asthma
  • Peptic or stomach ulcer
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease

Under a doctor’s supervision, people who are pregnant or breastfeeding may take low-dose aspirin. Doctors usually do not recommend high-dose during pregnancy. Anyone with a known allergy to aspirin or any other NSAID, such as ibuprofen, should avoid these drugs. Doctors do not give aspirin during a stroke because not all strokes are caused by blood clots, and aspirin could make some strokes worse. Anyone who drinks alcohol regularly or is having dental or surgical treatment, however small, should ask a doctor before taking it. 

Is Aspirin Safe for Children?

Doctors do not usually recommend it for people under 18. This is because it can increase the risk of a serious condition called Reye’s syndrome, which can happen after a viral infection like a cold or flu, or chickenpox. Reye’s syndrome can cause permanent brain injury or death. However, a doctor might prescribe it to a child under supervision if they have Kawasaki disease or to prevent blood clots after heart surgery. For children, doctors usually recommend acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil) in appropriate doses instead of aspirin.

What are the Drug Interactions of Aspirin?

An interaction can occur when one medication makes another less effective or the combination becomes dangerous. It can interact with many drugs, including:

  • Anti-inflammatory Painkillers: Examples include diclofenac, ibuprofen, and naproxen. When taken with it, these drugs can increase the risk of stomach bleeding.
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and Other Antidepressants: Examples include citalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, venlafaxine, and sertraline. Combining these with it can increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Warfarin: When taken with this blood thinner, aspirin can reduce warfarin’s anticoagulant effects and increase the risk of bleeding. However, there are situations where this combination may be beneficial.
  • Methotrexate: Used to treat cancer and some autoimmune disease, aspirin can make this drug harder to eliminate, potentially leading to toxic levels of methotrexate.

Is It Safe to Take Aspirin and Ibuprofen Together?

Aspirin and ibuprofen are both used to relieve minor pain. It can also help stop heart attacks or strokes, while ibuprofen can reduce fever. Sometimes, you might have conditions that both drugs can help with. But, should you take them together? The short answer is that most people shouldn’t. Here’s why and some more details on how to use these drugs safely.

A Dangerous Combination:  

Aspirin and ibuprofen are part of a group of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). They have similar side effects, and taking them together can make these side effects worse. Both aspirin and ibuprofen can cause stomach bleeding, especially if you take too much. Taking both together makes this risk even higher. The risk of stomach bleeding goes up if you:

  • Are over 60 years’ old
  • Have or had stomach ulcers or bleeding
  • Take blood thinners or steroids
  • Drink three or more alcoholic drinks a day
  • Take more than the recommended dose
  • Using either drug for longer than directed

Aspirin and ibuprofen can also cause allergic reactions. Symptoms can include hives, rash, blisters, swelling of the face, and wheezing. Taking both together increases this risk too. If you see any redness or swelling after taking aspirin and ibuprofen, call your doctor. These drugs might also cause hearing problems. You might hear ringing in your ears or notice that your hearing gets worse. If this happens, contact your doctor.

Using Aspirin and Ibuprofen Safely:

Aspirin Use:

You can use it to treat minor pain. Usually, this means taking four to eight 81-mg tablets every four hours or one to two 325-mg tablets every four hours. You should never take more than forty-eight 81-mg tablets or twelve 325-mg tablets in a day. Your doctor might also tell you to take it to prevent a heart attack and stroke. These can happen because of blood clots in your blood vessels. Aspirin makes your blood thinner, which helps stop blood clots from forming. If you’ve had a heart attack or stroke, your doctor might recommend aspirin to prevent another one. Sometime, if you have many risk factors for a stroke or heart attack, your doctor will have you start taking aspirin. For prevention, a typical dose is one 81-mg tablet per day. Aspirin can also help prevent colon cancer. Your doctor can advise you on the right amount to take for this purpose.

Ibuprofen Uses:

Ibuprofen can treat minor pain, such as:

  • Headaches
  • Tooth pain
  • Back pain
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Muscle pain
  • Pain from arthritis

It can also help lower fever. A typical dose is one to two 200-mg tablets every four to six hours. You should try to take the smallest amount that works. Never take more than six tablets of ibuprofen in one day.

FAQs:

What are the benefits of aspirin?

Daily use of aspirin can help reduce the risk of heart attack, clot-related strokes, and other blood flow issues in people with cardiovascular disease or those who have already had a heart attack or stroke. Many doctors recommend aspirin for these purposes.

Is Panadol aspirin?

Paracetamol is a different type of pain reliever compared to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and aspirin. Paracetamol works mainly in the brain to relieve pain, while ibuprofen, aspirin and other NSAIDs work primarily at the site of pain.

Is aspirin good for back pain?

Aspirin compounds are over-the counter pain relievers that can help with minor pain and backaches. The main possible side effects of aspirin are stomach problems, especially ulcers, which may or may not bleed. You should not take aspirin if you are pregnant.

Can I take 2 Disprin at a time?

Disprin directly dissolves on the tongue without needing water. For adults and children aged 16 and over, the usual dose is one to three tablets, with a maximum of 13 tablets in 24 hours. You can take another dose after 4 hours, but make sure not to exceed 13 tablets in total within 24 hours.

Does Disprin make you sleepy?

Some side effects of this medication may include redness, fatigue, itching, insomnia, vomiting, nausea, heartburn, asthma, stomach ulcers, and shortness of breath.

What organ can aspirin damage?

It can also lead to severe side effects, such as bleeding in the brain, or stomach, as well as kidney failure.

Does aspirin cause weight gain?

Overall, recent research suggests that low-dose aspirin can decrease obesity and  high cholesterol levels, inflammation specific to fat cells, and metabolic syndrome in obese mice induced by a high-fat diet.

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