Aspirin, also called acetylsalicylic acid, refers to a salicylate drug which is commonly used to relieve minor pains, lessen inflammation, and reduce fever. An estimated 40,000 metric tons of aspirin are consumed yearly, making it the most widely used medication all over the world.
As mentioned, aspirin is only used to relieve minor pains. With this, in order to treat severe pains, aspirin must be taken along with non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and opioid analgesics. Another popular use of aspirin is to prevent the formation of blood clots, as well as prevent strokes and heart attacks in patients with high risk to these conditions. This medication is also administered immediately to patients who have suffered a heart attack in order to prevent the death of cardiac tissues and prevent it from recurring.
Low doses of aspirin are also administered to patients who have acute coronary syndrome, atrial fibrillation, and have undergone coronary artery bypass graft operation. Patients who have hypertension, high cholesterol levels in the blood, or diabetes may also be required to take low dosages of aspirin if the physician believes that they are at risk for stroke or heart attack. In addition, those with damage in their kidneys or retina may also be given low doses of this medication.
Some of the common side effects of aspirin include, nausea, indigestion, and irritation in the stomach. Other less common side effects of this drug include, vomiting, bleeding of the stomach, bruising, inflammation of the stomach, and worsening of the symptoms of asthma. In extremely rare cases, aspirin may cause hemorrhagic stroke.
Aspirin is not advisable for patients who have hemophilia, peptic ulcer, or an allergy to the drug or to NSAIDs. People with liver problems, asthma, kidney problems, and uncontrolled hypertension, are advised to take extra precautions when using aspirin. Aside from patients with the mentioned medical problems, those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or below 16 years old are recommended to take this drug only if their physician agrees.