Aspirin: What You Should Know

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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When you think of aspirin, what comes to mind? Some people may think of its ability to prevent heart attacks and strokes, while others may think of its pain relieving abilities!

Even though aspirin is a commonly prescribed medication, and can be used for different conditions, there are some things you may not know about it! Here are the ins and outs if this common pain reliever.

What is aspirin used for?

The way that aspirin works is actually quite dependent on the dose.

Lower doses of aspirin, like a dosage of 81 mg per day, works by reducing the formation of blood clots. In turn, this can help prevent the recurrence of a heart attack or stroke.

Higher doses of aspirin, like 325 mg, produces the pain relieving and fever reducing effects.

How is aspirin sold?

Over the counter aspirin is sold in many different forms. For instance, it is available as a tablet, a delayed-release tablet, a dispensable tablet, a chewable tablet, a suppository, and a bottle of oral powder.

All tablet forms are available in in the following strengths: 81 mg, 325 mg, 324 mg, and 500 mg.

Aspirin suppositories are available in the following strengths: 60 mg, 120 mg, 200 mg, 300 mg, and 600 mg.

What other drugs are similar to aspirin?

Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drug. Other drugs that you may know of, like Motrin (ibuprofen), Advil (ibuprofen), and Aleve (naproxen) are other common NSAIDs that are very similar to aspirin, and are also available over the counter!

Are there any aspirin products that require a prescription?

Actually, yes. Durlaza is a prescription-only form of Aspirin used to reduce the risk of heart attack and strokes in high-risk patients. Durlaza is available in a 162.5mg extended-release capsule.

What other products contain aspirin?

There are a few:

Why can it be dangerous to give a child aspirin?

Giving a child under the age of 12 years old Aspirin can be dangerous as it can increase the risk of Reye’s Syndrome, a dangerous condition that can cause swelling in the brain and liver. Reye’s Syndrome occurs in children recovering from a viral injection, like the flu or chicken pox, and aspirin use can greatly increase this risk.

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