What is the most important information I should know about aspirin?
Aspirin can cause Reye's syndrome, a serious and sometimes fatal condition in children.
What is aspirin?
Aspirin is a salicylate (sa-LIS-il-ate) that is used to treat pain, and reduce fever or inflammation.
Aspirin is sometimes used to treat or prevent heart attacks, strokes, and chest pain (angina). Aspirin should be used for these conditions only under the supervision of a doctor.
Aspirin may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking aspirin?
Using aspirin in a child or teenager with flu symptoms or chickenpox can cause a serious or fatal condition called Reye's syndrome.
You should not use aspirin if you are allergic to it, or if you have:
- a recent history of stomach or intestinal bleeding;
- a bleeding disorder such as hemophilia; or
- if you have ever had an asthma attack or severe allergic reaction after taking aspirin or an NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug).
Tell your doctor if you have ever had:
- asthma or seasonal allergies;
- stomach ulcers;
- liver disease;
- kidney disease;
- a bleeding or blood clotting disorder;
- gout; or
- heart disease, high blood pressure, or congestive heart failure.
Taking aspirin during late pregnancy may cause bleeding in the mother or the baby during delivery. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
You should not breastfeed while using this medicine.
How should I take aspirin?
Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor.
Always follow directions on the medicine label about giving aspirin to a child.
Take with food if aspirin upsets your stomach.
You must chew the chewable tablet before you swallow it.
Do not crush, chew, break, or open an enteric-coated or delayed/extended-release pill. Swallow it whole.
Tell your doctor if you have a planned surgery.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Do not use aspirin if you smell a strong vinegar odor in the aspirin bottle. The medicine may no longer be effective.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Aspirin is used when needed. If you are on a dosing schedule, skip any missed dose. Do not use two doses at one time.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
Overdose may cause stomach pain, vomiting, diarrhea, vision or hearing problems, fast or slow breathing, or confusion.
What should I avoid while taking aspirin?
Avoid alcohol. Heavy drinking can increase your risk of stomach bleeding.
Avoid taking ibuprofen if you take aspirin to prevent stroke or heart attack. Ibuprofen can make aspirin less effective in protecting your heart and blood vessels. Ask your doctor how far apart your doses should be.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using other medicines for pain, fever, swelling, or cold/flu symptoms. They may contain ingredients similar to aspirin (such as magnesium salicylate, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, or naproxen).
What are the possible side effects of aspirin?
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using aspirin 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 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. Taking certain antidepressants with aspirin may cause you to bruise or bleed easily.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using aspirin with any other medications, especially:
- a blood thinner (warfarin, Coumadin, Jantoven), 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 affect aspirin, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.
Where can I get more information?
Your pharmacist can provide more information about aspirin.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
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