Low-dose aspirin side effects

Some common side effects of aspirin (e.g. Astrix, Cartia) include:

  • stomach upset, including nausea (feeling sick), vomiting, heartburn and indigestion
  • dizziness.

However, the most serious side effect to be aware of with aspirin (as with all anti-clotting medicine) is the increased risk of bleeding-related side effects. This risk is further increased if you’re taking aspirin along with another anti-clotting medicine, such as warfarin.

Ask your doctor what signs and symptoms of bleeding you need to look out for, when you should contact your doctor about them and when you may need to go to a hospital emergency department. Some signs of bleeding may not be obvious, particularly with internal bleeding, so it’s important to know what these are.

Signs and symptoms of bleeding

Some signs and symptoms of bleeding include:

  • bruising that occurs easily or takes longer than normal to heal
  • red or dark brown urine
  • red or black bowel motions
  • nosebleeds — particularly when they occur more frequently or take longer than normal to stop
  • trouble breathing or swallowing
  • coughing up blood
  • heavier than usual menstrual periods
  • bleeding from cuts, wounds and scrapes that takes too long to stop
  • dark or blood-stained vomit
  • severe headache or dizziness
  • unexplained pain, swelling or discomfort.

A serious fall or injury may result in internal bleeding that is not obvious. Report any injuries to your doctor — including falls, cuts and scratches, bruising and accidents — even when you don’t notice any bleeding.

Signs and symptoms of an allergic reaction

Another potential concern with aspirin is an allergic reaction. If you have an aspirin allergy, you may experience any of the following symptoms:

  • swelling of the face, lips or tongue which may make swallowing or breathing difficult
  • asthma, wheezing, shortness of breath
  • sudden or severe itching, skin rash, hives.

An allergic reaction can be serious. Go to your nearest hospital emergency department if you think you may be experiencing an allergic reaction to aspirin.

This is not a complete list of side effects. If you feel unwell while taking low-dose aspirin, even if you do not think it is related to your medicine, see your doctor or pharmacist.

Who can I ask about aspirin side effects?

If you’re concerned that you or someone in your care may have had side effects related to a medicine, seek medical advice. To report and discuss possible side effects, call the NPS Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) from anywhere in Australia (Mon–Fri, 9am–5pm). Your call will be answered by healthdirect Australia.