Generic name: Acetylsalicylic acid
General category: Blood thinner, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), salicylate
Aspirin is used to treat and prevent a range of conditions. This medication may be taken for:
There is promising evidence to support that taking an aspirin every day is associated with a reduced risk of dying from cancer after it has been diagnosed.
To prevent cardiovascular disease, the US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends a small daily dose of aspirin. Aspirin is recommended for men aged 45-79 years and women aged 55-79 years as long as the benefits of taking the medication outweigh the risks. One common risk to consider is gastrointestinal bleeding. If you want to start taking aspirin every day, be sure you talk to your doctor first to make sure that it is safe for you.
The American Heart Association recommends aspirin for certain poeple who are at high risk of heart attacks and for poeple who have experienced a heart attack, stroke, or transient ischemic attack (mini-stroke) if not contraindicated.
Take only the amount of aspirin instructed by your doctor. If you are taking aspirin regularly and you need a medication to relieve pain, a fever, or arthritis, your doctor may not want you to take extra aspirin. It is a good idea to discuss this with your doctor, so that you will know ahead of time what medication to take.
Do not stop taking this medication for any reason without first checking with the doctor who directed you to take it.
Aspirin can interact with many types of medications. Some examples include:
Be sure to talk to your doctor about the specific medications that you are taking.
There are many types of herbs and supplements that can interact with aspirin. Examples include:
To avoid any interactions, it is important that you talk to your doctor about any herbs are supplements that you are taking before you begin aspirin therapy.
If you have one of the following conditions, it may not be appropriate for you to take aspirin due to the increased risk of complications:
Low-dose aspirin increases risk for gastrointestinal bleeding and hemorrhagic stroke. Do not use without medical advice if you are at increased risk for these diseases.
American Heart Association
US Food and Drug Administration
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Antiplatelet agents for secondary prevention of stroke. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 26, 2014. Accessed December 12, 2014.
Aspirin. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated November 2, 2012. Accessed December 14, 2012.
Aspirin and heart disease. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/PreventionTreatmentofHeartAttack/Aspirin-and-Heart-Disease_UCM_321714_Article.jsp. November 17, 2014. Accessed December 12, 2014.
Aspirin for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 27, 2014. Accessed December 12, 2014.
Holmes MD, Chen WY. Hiding in plan view: The potential for commonly used drugs to reduce breast cancer mortality. Breast Cancer Res. 2012;14(2):216.
McCowan C, Munro AJ, et al. Use of aspirin post-diagnosis in a cohort of patients with colorectal cancer and its association with all-cause and colorectal cancer specific mortality. Eur J Cancer. 2012;49(5):1049-1057.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/biomedical-libraries/natural-alternative-treatments. Updated September 18, 2014. Accessed December 12, 2014.
Reimers MS, Bastiaannet E, et al. Aspirin use after diagnosis improves survival in older adults with colon cancer: a retrospective cohort study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012;60(12):2232-2236.
Last reviewed December 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.