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Generic Name: aspirin (oral) (AS pir in)
Brand Names: Arthritis Pain, Aspergum, Aspir-Low, Aspirin Lite Coat, Bayer Aspirin, Bufferin, Easprin, Ecotrin, Empirin, Fasprin, Genacote, Halfprin, Norwich Aspirin, St. Joseph Aspirin, Stanback Analgesic, Tri-Buffered Aspirin, YSP Aspirin, Zorprin
There are many brands and forms of aspirin available and not all brands are listed.
Aspirin (USAN), also known as acetylsalicylic acid (ə-set-əl-sal-i-sil-ik; abbreviated ASA), is a salicylate drug, often used as an analgesic to relieve minor aches and pains, as an antipyretic to reduce fever, and as an anti-inflammatory medication. Aspirin was first isolated by Felix Hoffmann, a chemist with the German company Bayer, in 1897 under the direction of Arthur Eichengrün.
Salicylic acid, the main metabolite of aspirin, is an integral part of human and animal metabolism. While in humans much of it is attributable to diet, a substantial part is synthesized endogenously.
Aspirin also has an antiplatelet effect by inhibiting the production of thromboxane, which under normal circumstances binds platelet molecules together to create a patch over damaged walls of blood vessels. Because the platelet patch can become too large and also block blood flow, locally and downstream, aspirin is also used long-term, at low doses, to help prevent heart attacks, strokes, and blood clot formation in people at high risk of developing blood clots. It has also been established that low doses of aspirin may be given immediately after a heart attack to reduce the risk of another heart attack or of the death of cardiac tissue. Although the US Preventive Services Task Force recommends against use of aspirin for colorectal cancer prevention, some recent evidence suggests aspirin may be useful for prevention of other cancers.
The main undesirable side effects of aspirin taken by mouth are gastrointestinal ulcers, stomach bleeding, and tinnitus, especially in higher doses. In children and adolescents, aspirin is no longer indicated to control flu-like symptoms or the symptoms of chickenpox or other viral illnesses, because of the risk of Reye's syndrome. Aspirin is part of a group of medications called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), but differs from most other NSAIDS in the mechanism of action. Though it, and others in its group called the salicylates, have similar effects (antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic) to the other NSAIDs and inhibit the same enzyme cyclooxygenase, aspirin (but not the other salicylates) does so in an irreversible manner and, unlike others, affects more the COX-1 variant than the COX-2 variant of the enzyme. Today, aspirin is one of the most widely used medications in the world, with an estimated 40,000 tons of it being consumed each year. In countries where Aspirin is a registered trademark owned by Bayer, the generic term is acetylsalicylic acid (ASA)
What is aspirin?
Aspirin is in a group of drugs called salicylates. 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. It is sometimes used to treat or prevent heart attacks, strokes, and angina. Aspirin should be used for cardiovascular conditions only under the supervision of a doctor.
Important information about aspirin
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.
Stop using this medication and call your doctor at once if you have any symptoms of bleeding in your stomach or intestines. Symptoms include black, bloody, or tarry stools, and coughing up blood or vomit that looks like coffee grounds.
Avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking this medication. Alcohol may increase your risk of stomach bleeding.
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.
Before taking aspirin
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, and others.
If you have any of these other conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take aspirin:
- 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 are taking aspirin to prevent heart attack or stroke, avoid also taking ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin). Ibuprofen may make this medication 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 this medication. 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.