The Side Effects of Aspirin

aspirin side effectsWhat Is Aspirin

Aspirin is maybe the most common pain killer all over the world. It is also known as acetylsalicilic acid and it’s usually recommended to alleviate and control mild pain, fever and it also has anti-inflammatory properties.

Aspirin Uses

Aspirin is largely used as an analgesic, it’s also prescribed for the treatment and management of other conditions. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, aspirin is commonly prescribed for various inflammatory diseases, like pericarditis, rheumatoid arthritis or various autoimmune diseases like the Kawasaki disease (inflammation of various medium-sized blood vessels in the body).

Aspirin has an anti-platelet effect, reducing the formation of blood clots and that’s why it is indicated for the prevention of strokes and heart attacks. Aspirin is also used for coronary artery disease and a long-term treatment with this drug is recommended to patients that have gone through a coronary artery bypass graft, or placement of coronary artery stents.

Recent studies have shown that patients under treatment with aspirin are exposed to a much lower risk of developing various types of cancer, like lung cancer, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, breast cancer, bowel, oesophageal, stomach, and pancreas cancer.

Of course, aspirin is most commonly used to alleviate pain, fever and rheumatic fever. It has great effect for migraines and tension headaches especially in conjunction with caffeine. It’s also one of the main drugs prescribed to alleviate the symptoms of common cold.

Aspirin Side Effects

Although aspirin is seen by most people as a harmless drug, it can have serious, life-threatening side effects. The most common of the aspirin side effects are gastritis, gastrointestinal ulcers or stomach bleedings, adverse effects that are associate with the oral administration of the drug. Since aspirin has a detrimental effect on the digestive tract, patients may also experience stomach pain and heart burn.

For aspirin quick action in case of a cold sore, many people chew or suck aspirin tablets. This can lead to various oral aspirin side effects, like aphthous ulcers (or canker sores) which can be very painful and last for up to a week.

Tinnitus is one of the aspirin side effects that may be experienced especially by patients who undergo a higher dosage treatment with this drug. Also, long-term aspirin use can induce anemia (low iron blood level).

Studies have shown that aspirin increases the risk of cerebral microbleeds. In general, since aspirin is a blood thinner, it can cause various internal and external bleedings. However, these aspirin side effects are predominant in patients that undergo an overdose of aspirin, or have a natural salicylate intolerance. So, if you experience a nose bleed or gums bleeding after taking aspirin, it just might be a sign that this should not be your pain killer.

Among other aspirin side effects is Reye’s syndrome, which is a potentially fatal disease which has an impact on various organs in the body, mainly on the liver, kidneys and brain. The disease specific to children and young adults with a viral illness in conjunction with aspirin. If it’s not diagnosed early, the disease may cause liver failure, brain injury, coma and death.

One of the aspirin adverse effects is hyperkalemia, or an increased blood level of potassium electrolytes.

Lastly, especially in patients with a salicylate intolerance, the aspirin side effects can resemble an allergic reaction, symptoms including skin itchiness, hives, angioedema (skin tissue swelling), and paradoxically headaches.

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