Over-the-counterLower-cost generic availableClass: Pain

Aspirin

Over-the-counterLower-cost generic availableClass: Pain
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Relieves pain, fever, and inflammation. Protects your heart and thins blood.

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Our bottom line

A low dose of Aspirin (81mg) every day can protect your heart, but it's not the best medicine to take for pain, swelling, or fever.

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Upsides

  • When taking low doses (81 mg) every day, Aspirin provides protection for your heart and prevents heart attacks and stroke.
  • Used in higher doses to relieve pain, swelling, and fever.
  • Available over-the-counter in drugstores by itself and in combination with other cold and flu medications.
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Downsides

  • Not a preferred medication for treating pain, swelling, or fever due to its high risk of bleeding.
  • NSAIDs (like ibuprofen and naproxen) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) are better for treating pain and fever thank Aspirin.
  • Aspirin raises your risk of bleeding, especially when used with other blood thinner medications like warfarin (Coumadin).
  • Studies show that using higher doses of Aspirin (162 mg or more) every day raises your risk of stomach bleeding and doesn't provide any additional heart protection.
How it works

Aspirin is a salicylate and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). It blocks the inflammation process in your body, which relieves swelling and pain. It also prevents blood platelets from forming clots, which thins your blood.

What to expect when you take Aspirin for Pain

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Side effect rates for Aspirin

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These are side effects of Aspirin reported to the FDA by people taking it, and by doctors and pharmacists.
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Risks and Warnings for Aspirin

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    • Higher risk if:
    • Children 18 years or younger
    • Children recovering from viral infections

    Aspirin use is linked to a condition called Reye's syndrome that causes liver and brain swelling. This is rare but very serious. Let your doctor know about any nausea, vomiting, unusually low energy, or changes in behavior.

Common concerns from people taking Aspirin

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Pregnancy
Food
  • Take with food to lower the chance of an upset stomach.
Pain
  • Used in higher doses to relieve pain, swelling, and fever.