Who can take aspirin

Adults, and teenagers over the age of 16, can take aspirin.

Children aged between 12 and 16 should only take aspirin following medical advice.

Always follow the instructions on the medicines label or those given by your doctor or pharmacist to make sure that you take the correct dose you don’t exceed the maximum recommended dose.

Things to tell your doctor before taking aspirin

You may not be able to take aspirin if you are allergic to aspirin or if you:

  • are pregnant
  • have stomach ulcers currently or have had them in the past
  • have a condition that means you bleed very easily
  • have liver problems
  • have asthma
  • have heart failure
  • have high blood pressure.

If you are pregnant, or you or your child has any of the medical conditions listed above, talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking aspirin.

Can I take aspirin if I am pregnant?

Talk to your doctor before taking aspirin or any NSAID if you are pregnant, or planning a pregnancy.

Low-dose aspirin (i.e. less than 150 mg/day) taken to prevent blood clots is considered safe during pregnancy.

It is not known for sure whether or not taking NSAIDs such as aspirin or ibuprofen in the early stages of pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage. Taking NSAIDs such as aspirin at higher doses during pregnancy can affect the development of your unborn baby, cause bleeding complications in the newborn baby and may delay labour and birth.

Can I take aspirin if I am breastfeeding?

Avoid taking aspirin if you are breastfeeding, as it passes into breast milk. Ibuprofen is preferred. This is because aspirin has been associated with a condition called Reye's syndrome (see below) in young children.

Who can’t take aspirin?

Aspirin should not be used for treating:

  • children younger than 12 years old with pain or fever
  • adolescents and teenagers aged 12–16 years with fever, or who are recovering from chickenpox or flu (influenza).

This is because aspirin has been linked to a serious condition called Reye’s syndrome that can affect the brain and the liver of children and teenagers younger than 16 years old.

Find out more about how to treat a fever.

Find out more about aspirin, the side effects of aspirin and the interactions with aspirin