Today is a good day to start or maintain an aspirin regimen for your heart health plus other health and disease related benefits. Gastroenterologist's say a low-dose baby aspirin regimen therapy can beat anti-platelet drugs which are high-cost and have side-effects.
Aspirin Use to Control Existing Cardiovascular Disease
Aspirin can be beneficial to individuals who already have experienced a heart attack, stroke, angina or peripheral vascular disease, or had certain procedures such as angioplasty or bypass. Doctors may recommend aspirin use for persons with these conditions unless there's another medical reason why these individuals should not take aspirin.
Because aspirin may not be the most effective therapy for everyone, other anti-platelet medicines may be used instead of aspirin or along with aspirin. As with all medications, patients with cardiovascular disease should first speak with their health care provider to learn about the benefits and potential harms of aspirin therapy for them. Providers should be aware that recommendations on size of dose and length of treatment may vary among organizations and by disease.
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Why is Aspirin Prescribed?
Aspirin is used to relieve mild to moderate pain; reduce fever, redness, and swelling; and to help prevent blood from clotting. It's used to relieve discomfort caused by numerous medical problems, including headache, infections, and arthritis. It's also used to reduce risk of a second heart attack or stroke. Larger doses of aspirin are used to treat gout.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Aspirin comes as a regular, coated, extended-release (long-acting), chewable, and effervescent tablet; capsule; and gum to take by mouth and a suppository to use rectally. Aspirin is often taken without a prescription.
If your doctor prescribes baby-aspirin for you, you will get directions for how often you should take it. Follow the directions on the package or prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take aspirin exactly as directed.
Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Do not break, crush, or chew extended-release tablets and don't open extended-release capsules; swallow them whole.
If regular aspirin tablets cause a bad taste or aftertaste or burning in the throat, try taking coated tablets to avoid these problems.
Regular, coated, and extended-release aspirin tablets and capsules should be swallowed with a full glass of water or milk or after meals to avoid stomach upset.
Chewable aspirin tablets may be chewed, crushed, dissolved in a liquid, or swallowed whole; drink a full glass of water, milk, or fruit juice immediately after taking these tablets.
An oral liquid form of aspirin can be prepared by dissolving effervescent tablets (Alka-Seltzer) according to the directions on the package.
To insert an aspirin suppository into the rectum, follow these steps:
- Remove the wrapper.
- Dip the tip of the suppository in water.
- Lie down on your left side and raise your right knee to your chest. (A left-handed person should lie on the right side and raise the left knee.)
- Using your finger, insert the suppository into the rectum, about 1/2 to 1 inch in infants and children and 1-inch in adults. Hold it in place for a few moments.
- Do not stand up for at least 15-minutes. Then wash your hands thoroughly and resume your normal activities.
Adults should not take aspirin for pain for more than 10 days (5 days for children) without talking to a doctor. Aspirin should not be taken by adults or children for high fever, fever lasting longer than 3 days, or recurrent fever unless under a doctor's supervision. Don't give more than five doses to a child in a 24-hour period unless directed by a doctor.
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Before taking aspirin,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to aspirin, other arthritis or pain medications (e.g., ibuprofen), tartrazine dye, or any other drugs.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking and in particular medications for gout, diabetes, gout, or high blood pressure and vitamins too.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had anemia, diabetes, hemophilia or other bleeding problems, history of ulcers, asthma, kidney or liver disease, gout, Hodgkin's disease, or a history of nasal polyps.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking aspirin, call your doctor. Aspirin and other salicylates should not be taken during the last 3-months of pregnancy or while breast-feeding.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking aspirin. Your doctor may tell you to stop taking aspirin 1 week before surgery.
- if you drink 3 or more alcohol drinks every day, ask your doctor if you should take aspirin. You should not drink alcoholic beverages while taking aspirin.
To prevent stomach upset, take aspirin with meals, a full glass of water, or milk.
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Don't take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Although side effects from aspirin are not common, they can occur. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or don't go away:
- upset stomach
- stomach pain
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
- difficulty breathing
- mental confusion
- skin rash
- ringing in the ears
- loss of hearing
- bloody or black stools
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture - not in the bathroom. Do not use tablets that have a strong vinegar smell. Store aspirin suppositories in a cool place or in a refrigerator. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
If you have diabetes, regular use of eight or more regular strength aspirin tablets a day may affect test results for urine sugar. Talk to your doctor about proper monitoring of your blood sugar while taking aspirin.
If you have had oral surgery or tonsils removed in the last 7-days, do not use chewable or effervescent aspirin tablets, gum, or aspirin in crushed tablets or gargles.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about aspirin.
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