Who is low-dose aspirin for?

As an antiplatelet medicine, low-dose aspirin (e.g. Astrix, Cartia) is mainly given to people who have a high risk of developing clots in arteries — often due to atherosclerosis. These harmful clots can block the blood supply to the heart or brain and cause life-threatening conditions, including:

  • stroke
  • mini-strokes (transient ischaemic attacks or TIAs)
  • heart attacks
  • unstable angina.

Aspirin is also used as an alternative to warfarin and other anticoagulants to prevent stroke in some people with atrial fibrillation who are at low risk of a stroke or who can't take an anticoagulant.

The higher your risk of developing harmful clots, the more important it is to take an anti-clotting medicine.

Besides anti-clotting medicines, other treatments are also needed to treat these conditions, if you’ve already experienced them, or to reduce the risk of them happening in the future. These treatments can include medicines to lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

Benefits of taking low-dose aspirin (e.g. Astrix, Cartia)

Aspirin is an older medicine, so much is known about its side effects and how it works. For this reason, doctors feel comfortable prescribing aspirin when it is a suitable choice.

Because aspirin works by preventing harmful clots from developing, its overall benefit is to prevent life-threatening illness and disability that can occur with clot-induced events such as stroke and heart attack. However, it’s important to remember that, like any other medicine, aspirin is not 100% effective.

Call the NPS Medicines Line on 1300 MEDICINE (1300 633 424) to get information about your prescription, over-the-counter and complementary medicines from a pharmacist. Your call will be answered by healthdirect Australia (except Queensland and Victoria).