aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid, Ecotrin)

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GENERIC NAME: aspirin

BRAND NAMES: Aspirin, Arthritis Foundation Safety Coated Aspirin, Bayer Aspirin, Bayer Children's Aspirin, Ecotrin, and many others.

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Aspirin is a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID) effective in treating fever, pain, and inflammation in the body. It also prevents blood clots (i.e., is antithrombotic). As a group, NSAIDs are non-narcotic relievers of mild to moderate pain of many causes, including headaches, injury, menstrual cramps, arthritis, and other musculoskeletal conditions. Other members of this class include ibuprofen (Motrin), indomethacin (Indocin), nabumetone (Relafen) and several others. They all work by reducing the levels of prostaglandins, chemicals that are released when there is inflammation and that cause pain and fever. NSAIDs block the enzyme that makes prostaglandins (cyclooxygenase), resulting in lower concentrations of prostaglandins. As a consequence, inflammation, pain, and fever are reduced. Inhibition of prostaglandins also reduces the function of platelets and the ability of blood to clot. Aspirin, inhibits the function of platelets in a manner that is different from other NSAIDs, and its antithrombotic effects last longer than other NSAIDs. This is why aspirin is used for preventing heart attacks and strokes. The FDA approved Bayer aspirin in June 1965.

PRESCRIPTION: No

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

PREPARATIONS: Chewable tablets: 81mg; caplets and tablets: 325mg, 500mg; enteric coated (safety coated) caplets and tablets: 325mg, 500mg.

STORAGE: Aspirin should be stored at room temperature, 20-25 C (68-77 F), in a sealed container, avoiding moisture.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Aspirin is used for the treatment of inflammation, fever, and pain that results from many forms of arthritis, including rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, ankylosing spondylitis, Reiter's syndrome, and osteoarthritis, as well as for soft tissue injuries, such as tendinitis and bursitis. Aspirin also is used for rapid relief of mild to moderate pain and fever in other inflammatory conditions. Because aspirin inhibits the function of platelets for prolonged periods of time, it is used for reducing the risk of strokes and heart attacks.

DOSING: Aspirin should be taken with food. Doses range from 50 mg to 6000 mg daily depending on the use.

  • Usual doses for mild to moderate pain are 350 or 650 mg every 4 hours or 500 mg every 6 hours.
  • Doses for rheumatoid arthritis include 500 mg every 4-6 hours; 650 mg every 4 hours; 1000 mg every 4-6 hours; 1950 mg twice daily.
  • Heart attacks are prevented with 81, 162 or 325 mg daily.

DRUG INTERACTIONS: Aspirin is associated with several suspected or probable interactions that affect the action of other drugs. The following examples are the most common of the suspected interactions.




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