What is it for?
Aspirin is for the short-term relief of fever, and of mild to moderate pain. This includes period pain and relief from a regular headache, and relief from a migraine. Under medical supervision, it can be used to reduce inflammation in conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. Some people are prescribed long-term low doses of aspirin, to act as a ‘blood thinner’ to reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
When to take care
Aspirin is an NSAID. If you have gout, a history of peptic ulcers, or are breastfeeding, you should only use aspirin if recommended by your doctor, nurse or pharmacist, because of the risk of side effects.
When NOT to take aspirin
- Do not take aspirin if you have a condition that makes you bleed easily.
- Children under the age of 16 should not take aspirin due to the risk of the life-threatening Reye’s syndrome.
Possible side effects
The most common side effects include nausea, vomiting, indigestion, stomach ulcer or bleeding, bleeding that takes longer than normal to stop, headache, dizziness and noises or ringing in the ears.
Always follow the dose information on the packaging, unless you are given specific instructions by your healthcare provider. In general, for pain relief, adults over 16 years should take 300-900 mg every 4-6 hours.
Other medicines that might interact with aspirin
Aspirin has all of the interactions of NSAIDs. If you take any of the following medicines, make sure that you first speak to your doctor or pharmacist.
- Other NSAIDs (including ibuprofen and diclofenac). Aspirin increases the risk of stomach ulcers and bleeding – even at low doses.
- Corticosteroids (help inflammation)
- Probenecid (used to treat gout)
- Valproate or acetazolamide (prevents seizures)