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acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin)
Pharmacologic class: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID)
Therapeutic class: Nonopioid analgesic, antipyretic, antiplatelet drug
Pregnancy risk category C (with full dose in third trimester: D)
Reduces pain and inflammation by inhibiting prostaglandin production. Fever reduction mechanism unknown; may be linked to decrease in endogenous pyrogens in hypothalamus resulting from prostaglandin inhibition. Exerts antiplatelet effect by inhibiting synthesis of prostacyclin and thromboxane A2.
Gum (chewable): 227 mg
Suppositories: 60 mg, 120 mg, 200 mg, 300 mg, 325 mg, 600 mg, 650 mg
Tablets: 81 mg, 325 mg, 500 mg
Tablets (chewable): 81 mg
Tablets (enteric-coated, delayed-release): 81 mg, 162 mg, 325 mg, 500 mg, 650 mg, 975 mg
Tablets (extended-release): 650 mg, 800 mg
Tablets (film-coated): 325 mg, 500 mg
Indications and dosages
➣ Mild pain or fever
Adults: 325 to 500 mg P.O. q 3 hours, or 325 to 650 mg P.O. q 4 hours, or 650 to 1,000 mg P.O. q 6 hours, to a maximum dosage of 4,000 mg/day.
Extended-release tablets-650 mg to 1,300 mg q 8 hours, not to exceed 3,900 mg/day; or 800 mg q 12 hours.
Children: 10 to 15 mg/kg P.O. or P.R. q 4 hours, not to exceed total daily dosage of 3.6 g, or up to 60 to 80 mg/kg/day. See chart below.
➣ Mild to moderate pain caused by inflammation (as in rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis)
Adults: Initially, 2,400 to 3,600 mg P.O. daily in divided doses. Dosage may be increased by 325 to 1,200 mg daily at intervals of at least 1 week. Usual maintenance dosage is 3.6 to 5.4 g/day P.O. in divided doses, to a maximum dosage of 6 g/day.
➣ Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
Children: 60 to 130 mg/kg/day P.O. in children weighing 25 kg (55 lb) or less, or 2,400 to 3,600 mg P.O. daily in children weighing more than 25 kg P.O.; give in divided doses q 6 to 8 hours.
➣ Acute rheumatic fever
Adults: 5 to 8 g/day P.O. in divided doses
Children: Initially, 100 mg/kg/day P.O. in individual doses for first 2 weeks; then maintenance dosage of 75 mg/kg/day P.O. in divided doses for next 4 to 6 weeks
➣ To reduce the risk of transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) or cerebrovascular accident in men with a history of TIAs caused by emboli
Adults: 650 mg P.O. b.i.d. or 325 mg P.O. q.i.d.
➣ To reduce the risk of myocardial infarction (MI) in patients with a history of MI or unstable angina
Adults: 75 to 325 mg/day P.O.
➣ Kawasaki disease
Children: Initially during acute febrile period, 80 to 180 mg/kg/day P.O. in four divided doses. Maintenance dosage is 3 to 10 mg/kg/day given as a single dose for up to 8 weeks or until platelet count and erythrocyte sedimentation rate return to normal.
➣ Thromboembolic disorders
Adults: 325 to 650 mg P.O. once or twice daily
• Hypersensitivity to salicylates, other NSAIDs, or tartrazine
• Renal impairment
• Severe hepatic impairment
• Hemorrhagic states or blood coagulation defects
• Vitamin K deficiency caused by dehydration
• Concurrent anticoagulant use
• Pregnancy (third trimester) or breastfeeding
Use with extreme caution, if at all, in:
• hepatic disorders, anemia, asthma, gastritis, Hodgkin's disease
• heart failure or other conditions in which high sodium content is harmful (buffered aspirin)
• patients receiving other salicylates or NSAIDs concurrently
• elderly patients
• children and adolescents.
☞ Never administer to child or adolescent who has signs or symptoms of chickenpox or flulike illness.
☞ Don't give within 6 weeks after administration of live varicella virus vaccine, because of risk of Reye's syndrome.
• Give with food or large amounts of water or milk to minimize GI irritation.
• Know that extended-release and enteric-coated forms are best for long-term therapy.
• Be aware that aspirin should be discontinued at least 1 week before surgery because it may inhibit platelet aggregation.
EENT: hearing loss, tinnitus, ototoxicity
GI: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, dyspepsia, epigastric distress, heartburn, anorexia, GI bleeding
Hematologic: thrombocytopenia, hemolytic anemia, leukopenia, agranulocytosis, shortened red blood cell life span
Metabolic: hyponatremia, hypokalemia, hypoglycemia
Respiratory: wheezing, hyperpnea, pulmonary edema with toxicity
Skin: rash, urticaria, bruising, angioedema
Other: hypersensitivity reactions, salicylism or acute toxicity
Drug-drug. Acidifying drugs (such as ammonium chloride): increased salicylate blood level
Activated charcoal: decreased salicylate absorption
Alkalinizing drugs (such as antacids): decreased salicylate blood level Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors: decreased antihypertensive effect
Anticoagulants, NSAIDs, thrombolytics: increased bleeding risk
Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (such as acetazolamide): salicylism
Corticosteroids: increased salicylate excretion and decreased blood level Furosemide: increased diuretic effect Live varicella virus vaccine: increased risk of Reye's syndrome
Methotrexate: decreased methotrexate excretion and increased blood level, causing greater risk of toxicity Nizatidine: increased salicylate blood level
Spironolactone: decreased spironolactone effect
Sulfonylureas (such as chlorpropamide, tolbutamide): enhanced sulfonylurea effects
Tetracycline (oral): decreased absorption of tetracycline (with buffered aspirin)
Drug-diagnostic tests. Alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, amylase, aspartate aminotransferase, coagulation studies, PaCO2, uric acid: increased values
Cholesterol, glucose, potassium, protein-bound iodine, sodium, thyroxine, tri-iodothyronine: decreased levels
Pregnancy test, protirelin-induced thyroid stimulating hormone, radionuclide thyroid imaging, serum theophylline (Schack and Waxler method), urine catecholamines, urine glucose, urine hydroxyindoleacetic acid, urine ketones (ferric chloride method), urine vanillylmandelic acid: test interference
Tests using phenosulfonphthalein as diagnostic agent: decreased urinary excretion of phenosulfonphthalein Urine protein: increased level
Drug-food. Urine-acidifying foods: increased salicylate blood level
Drug-herbs. Anise, arnica, cayenne, chamomile, clove, fenugreek, feverfew, garlic, ginger, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, horse chestnut, kelpware, licorice: increased bleeding risk
Drug-behaviors. Alcohol use: increased bleeding risk
☞ Watch for signs and symptoms of hypersensitivity and other adverse reactions, especially bleeding tendency.
• Stay alert for signs and symptoms of acute toxicity, such as diplopia, ECG abnormalities, generalized seizures, hallucinations, hyperthermia, oliguria, acute renal failure, incoherent speech, irritability, restlessness, tremor, vertigo, confusion, disorientation, mania, lethargy, laryngeal edema, anaphylaxis, and coma.
• Monitor elderly patients carefully because they're at greater risk for salicylate toxicity.
• With prolonged therapy, frequently assess hemoglobin, hematocrit, International Normalized Ratio, and kidney function test results.
• Check salicylate blood levels frequently.
• Evaluate patient for signs and symptoms of ototoxicity (hearing loss, tinnitus, ataxia, and vertigo).
• Tell patient to report ototoxicity symptoms, unusual bleeding, and bruising.
• Caution patient to avoid activities that may cause injury. Advise him to use soft toothbrush and electric razor to avoid gum and skin injury.
• Instruct patient to tell all prescribers he's taking the drug, because it may cause serious interactions with many common medications.
• Tell patient not to take other over-the-counter preparations containing aspirin.
• Inform patient that he may need to undergo regular blood testing during therapy.
• As appropriate, review all other significant and life-threatening adverse reactions and interactions, especially those related to the drugs, tests, foods, herbs, and behaviors mentioned above.
acetylsalicylic acid(trade name),
Bayer Aspirin(trade name),
Bayer Timed-Release Arthritic Pain Formula(trade name),
8-Hour Bayer Timed-Release(trade name),
Norwich Aspirin(trade name),
St. Joseph Adult Chewable Aspirin(trade name),
Therapy Bayer(trade name),
- Rheumatoid arthritis,
Time/action profile (analgesia/fever reduction†)
|PO||5–30 min||1–3 hr||3–6 hr|
Adverse Reactions/Side Effects
Ear, Eye, Nose, Throat
- GI bleeding (life-threatening)
- dyspepsia (most frequent)
- epigastric distress (most frequent)
- nausea (most frequent)
- abdominal pain
- allergic reactions including anaphylaxis and laryngeal edema (life-threatening)
Drug-Drug interactionMay ↑ the risk of bleeding with warfarin, heparin, heparin-like agents, thrombolytic agents, dipyridamole,ticlopidine, clopidogrel, tirofiban, or eptifibatide, although these agents are frequently used safely in combination and in sequence.Ibuprofen: may negate the cardioprotective antiplatelet effects of low-dose aspirin.May ↑ risk of bleeding with cefoperazone, cefotetan, and valproic acid. May ↑ activity of penicillins, phenytoin, methotrexate, valproic acid, oral hypoglycemic agents, and sulfonamides.Urinary acidification ↑ reabsorption and may ↑ serum salicylate levels.Alkalinization of the urine or the ingestion of large amounts of antacids ↑ excretion and ↓ serum salicylate levels.May blunt the therapeutic response to diuretics and ACE inhibitors.↑ risk of GI irritation with NSAIDs.↑ anticoagulant effect and bleeding risk with arnica, chamomile, clove, feverfew, garlic, ginger, ginkgo, Panax ginseng, and others.Foods capable of acidifying the urine (see ) may ↑ serum salicylate levels.
Prevention of Transient Ischemic Attacks
Prevention of Myocardial Infarction/Antiplatelet effects
Availability (generic available)
- Patients who have asthma, allergies, and nasal polyps or who are allergic to tartrazine are at an increased risk for developing hypersensitivity reactions.
- Pain: Assess pain and limitation of movement; note type, location, and intensity before and at the peak (see Time/Action Profile) after administration.
- Fever: Assess fever and note associated signs (diaphoresis, tachycardia, malaise, chills).
- Lab Test Considerations: Monitor hepatic function before antirheumatic therapy and if symptoms of hepatotoxicity occur; more likely in patients, especially children, with rheumatic fever, systemic lupus erythematosus, juvenile arthritis, or pre-existing hepatic disease. May cause ↑ serum AST, ALT, and alkaline phosphatase, especially when plasma concentrations exceed 25 mg/100 mL. May return to normal despite continued use or dose reduction. If severe abnormalities or active liver disease occurs, discontinue and use with caution in future.
- Monitor serum salicylate levels periodically with prolonged high-dose therapy to determine dose, safety, and efficacy, especially in children with Kawasaki disease.
- May alter results of serum uric acid, urine vanillylmandelic acid (VMA), protirelin-induced thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), urine hydroxyindoleacetic acid (5-HIAA) determinations, and radionuclide thyroid imaging.
Monitor for the onset of tinnitus, headache, hyperventilation, agitation, mental confusion, lethargy, diarrhea, and sweating. If these symptoms appear, withhold medication and notify health care professional immediately.
- Prolongs bleeding time for 4–7 days and, in large doses, may cause prolonged prothrombin time. Monitor hematocrit periodically in prolonged high-dose therapy to assess for GI blood loss.
Potential Nursing DiagnosesAcute pain (Indications)
Impaired physical mobility (Indications)
- Use lowest effective dose for shortest period of time.
- Oral: Administer after meals or with food or an antacid to minimize gastric irritation. Food slows but does not alter the total amount absorbed.
- Do not crush or chew enteric-coated tablets. Do not take antacids within 1–2 hr of enteric-coated tablets. Chewable tablets may be chewed, dissolved in liquid, or swallowed whole. Some extended-release tablets may be broken or crumbled but must not be ground up before swallowing. See manufacturer’s prescribing information for individual products.
- Instruct patient to take salicylates with a full glass of water and to remain in an upright position for 15–30 min after administration.
- Advise patient to report tinnitus; unusual bleeding of gums; bruising; black, tarry stools; or fever lasting longer than 3 days.
- Caution patient to avoid concurrent use of alcohol with this medication to minimize possible gastric irritation; 3 or more glasses of alcohol per day may increase risk of GI bleeding. Caution patient to avoid taking concurrently with acetaminophen or NSAIDs for more than a few days, unless directed by health care professional to prevent analgesic nephropathy.
- Teach patients on a sodium-restricted diet to avoid effervescent tablets or buffered-aspirin preparations.
- Tablets with an acetic (vinegar-like) odor should be discarded.
- Advise patients on long-term therapy to inform health care professional of medication regimen before surgery. Aspirin may need to be withheld for 1 wk before surgery.
- Pediatric: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns against giving aspirin to children or adolescents with varicella (chickenpox) or influenza-like or viral illnesses because of a possible association with Reye’s syndrome.
- Transient Ischemic Attacks or MI: Advise patients receiving aspirin prophylactically to take only prescribed dose. Increasing dose has not been found to provide additional benefits.
- Relief of mild to moderate discomfort.
- Increased ease of joint movement. May take 2–3 wk for maximum effectiveness.
- Reduction of fever.
- Prevention of transient ischemic attacks.
- Prevention of MI.