Aspirin works by blocking natural chemicals in the body that signal pain and, at low doses, can also prevent blood clots.
Aspirin can be used:
- To relieve mild-to-moderate pain in muscles, teeth and head.
- To relieve pain, swelling and stiffness around the joints.
- To relieve pain from a long-standing condition where your body’s immune system fights healthy cells (autoimmune disorders).
- To relieve the pain of heart disease, such as rheumatic heart disease.
Aspirin is a medicine that can treat pain and swellings. It is also used as a blood thinner, especially in people with heart disease. It is very effective for mild-to-moderate pain and can reduce fever. You do not need a prescription for this medicine.
You should not take this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to it before. Do not give this medicine to children younger than 12 years old as this can lead to swelling in the brain and liver failure.
- Aspirin is best taken while you are eating or just after your meal.
- There are many types of aspirin tablets, including:
- Regular tablets should be swallowed whole.
- Chewable tablets that you crush between your teeth.
- Coated aspirin tablets make it safer for people prone to ulcers. Coated tablets should be swallowed whole.
- Tablets that are placed under the tongue for a few minutes. You can swallow the remainder after fifteen to twenty minutes.
- Aspirin is sometimes available as a powder. This can be mixed with water or placed on the tongue and swallowed with some water.
- Your healthcare provider or pharmacist can advise you on the right type for you.
- In rare events, like a serious headache or migraine, your healthcare provider can inject you with aspirin.
- Healthcare providers may also recommend a suppository inserted in the anus for patients who cannot swallow.
Just like other medicines, you may experience some uncomfortable feelings when you use Aspirin. They will usually go away within 2 to 3 days. You should notify your health provider immediately if the effects do not go away.
Some common unpleasant feelings you may experience include:
- You may experience some irritation that can trigger stomach upsets, ulcer or bleeding.
- You may experience a constant feeling of fullness.
- You may feel like vomiting or even vomit.
- You may have a rash on your skin.
- You may hear ringing in your ears (tinnitus).
- You may have pain below your stomach. This may be a sign of an ulcer.
Aspirin could have serious side effects that are rare, including:
- Bleeding in the brain or stomach.
- Kidney failure
- A stroke when you use low doses daily.
- Aspirin interacts with some medicines. Be sure to let your healthcare provider know about other medications you are using.
- It would be best to inform your doctor of any other health conditions you have, especially those that affect the amount of blood cells (anaemia) or that lead to blood clots.
- Children and teenagers shouldn't be given aspirin. This drug can cause a life-threatening disorder, including brain swelling and liver failure in children.
- Patients with an active bleeding ulcer should not use aspirin.