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acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin)

Alka (UK), Angettes (UK), Apo-Asa (CA), Apo-ASEN (CA), Arthrinol (CA), Arthrisin (CA), Artria S.R. (CA), ASA, Aspercin, Aspergum, Aspir-Low, Aspirtab, Astrin (CA), Bayer, Caprin (UK), Coryphen (CA), Dispirin (UK), Easprin, Ecotrin, Enpirin (UK), Entrophen (CA), Halfprin, Headache Tablet (CA), Micoprin (UK), Novasen (CA), Nu-Seals (UK), PMS-ASA (CA), PostMl (UK), Sal-Adult (CA), Sal-Infant (CA), St. Joseph, Supasa (CA), ZORprin

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.

Adverse reactions

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

Hepatic: hepatotoxicity

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

Patient monitoring

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).

Patient teaching

• 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.

McGraw-Hill Nurse's Drug Handbook, 7th Ed. Copyright © 2013 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved


(as-pir-in) ,

acetylsalicylic acid

(trade name),


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Bayer Aspirin

(trade name),

Bayer Timed-Release Arthritic Pain Formula

(trade name),


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(trade name),

8-Hour Bayer Timed-Release

(trade name),


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(trade name),

Norwich Aspirin

(trade name),


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(trade name),

St. Joseph Adult Chewable Aspirin

(trade name),

Therapy Bayer

(trade name),


(trade name)


Therapeutic: antipyretics
Pharmacologic: salicylates
Pregnancy Category: D


Inflammatory disorders including:
  • Rheumatoid arthritis,
  • Osteoarthritis.
Mild to moderate pain.Fever.Prophylaxis of transient ischemic attacks and MI.Adjunctive treatment of Kawasaki disease.


Produce analgesia and reduce inflammation and fever by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins.
Decreases platelet aggregation.

Therapeutic effects

Reduction of inflammation.
Reduction of fever.
Decreased incidence of transient ischemic attacks and MI.


Absorption: Well absorbed from the upper small intestine; absorption from enteric-coated preparations may be unreliable; rectal absorption is slow and variable.
Distribution: Rapidly and widely distributed; crosses the placenta and enters breast milk.
Metabolism and Excretion: Extensively metabolized by the liver; inactive metabolites excreted by the kidneys. Amount excreted unchanged by the kidneys depends on urine pH; as pH increases, amount excreted unchanged increases from 2–3% up to 80%.
Half-life: 2–3 hr for low doses; up to 15–30 hr with larger doses because of saturation of liver metabolism.

Time/action profile (analgesia/fever reduction†)

PO5–30 min1–3 hr3–6 hr


Contraindicated in: Hypersensitivity to aspirin or other salicylates; Cross-sensitivity with other NSAIDs may exist (less with nonaspirin salicylates); Bleeding disorders or thrombocytopenia; Pediatric: May increase risk of Reye’s syndrome in children or adolescents with viral infections.
Use Cautiously in: History of GI bleeding or ulcer disease; Chronic alcohol use/abuse; Severe hepatic or renal disease; Obstetric: Salicylates may have adverse effects on fetus and mother and should be avoided during pregnancy, especially during the 3rd trimester; Lactation: Safety not established; Geriatric: ↑ risk of adverse reactions especially GI bleeding; more sensitive to toxic levels.

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects

Ear, Eye, Nose, Throat

  • tinnitus


  • GI bleeding (life-threatening)
  • dyspepsia (most frequent)
  • epigastric distress (most frequent)
  • nausea (most frequent)
  • abdominal pain
  • anorexia
  • hepatotoxicity
  • vomiting


  • anemia
  • hemolysis


  • rash
  • urticaria


  • allergic reactions including anaphylaxis and laryngeal edema (life-threatening)


Drug-Drug interaction

May ↑ 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.



Oral Rectal (Adults) 325–1000 mg q 4–6 hr (not to exceed 4 g/day). Extended-release tablets—650 mg q 8 hr or 800 mg q 12 hr.
Oral Rectal (Children 2–11 yr) 10–15 mg/kg/dose q 4–6 hr; maximum dose: 4 g/day.


Oral (Adults) 2.4 g/day initially; increased to maintenance dose of 3.6–5.4 g/day in divided doses (up to 7.8 g/day for acute rheumatic fever).
Oral (Children) 60–100 mg/kg/day in divided doses (up to 130 mg/kg/day for acute rheumatic fever).

Prevention of Transient Ischemic Attacks

Oral (Adults) 50–325 mg once daily.

Prevention of Myocardial Infarction/Antiplatelet effects

Oral (Adults) 80–325 mgonce dailySuspected acute MI-160 mg as soon as MI is suspected.
Oral (Children) 3–10 mg/kg/day given once daily (round dose to a convenient amount).

Kawasaki Disease

Oral (Children) 80–100 mg/kg/day in 4 divided doses until fever resolves; may be followed by maintenance dose of 3–5 mg/kg/day as a single dose for up to 8 wk.

Availability (generic available)

Tablets: 81 mgOTC, 162.5 mgOTC, 325 mgOTC, 500 mgOTC, 650 mgOTC, 975 mgOTC
Chewable tablets: 80 mgOTC, 81 mgOTC
Chewing gum: 227 mgOTC
Dispersible tablets: 325 mgOTC, 500 mgOTC
Enteric-coated (delayed-release) tablets: 80 mgOTC, 165 mgOTC, 300 mgOTC, 325 mgOTC, 500 mgOTC, 600 mgOTC, 650 mgOTC, 975 mgOTC
Extended-release tablets: 325 mgOTC, 650 mgOTC, 800 mg
Delayed-release capsules: 325 mgOTC, 500 mgOTC
Suppositories: 60 mgOTC, 120 mgOTC, 125 mgOTC, 130 mgOTC, 150 mgOTC, 160 mgOTC, 195 mgOTC, 200 mgOTC, 300 mgOTC, 320 mgOTC, 325 mgOTC, 600 mgOTC, 640 mgOTC, 650 mgOTC, 1.2 gOTC
In combination with: antihistamines, decongestants, cough suppressantsOTC, and opioids. See combination drugs.

Nursing implications

Nursing assessment

  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.

Potential Nursing Diagnoses

Acute 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.

Patient/Family Teaching

  • 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.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • 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.
Drug Guide, © 2015 Farlex and Partners


A trademark for a preparation of enteric-coated aspirin.
The American Heritage® Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2007, 2004 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


A brand name for ASPIRIN.
Collins Dictionary of Medicine © Robert M. Youngson 2004, 2005
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In addition, GSK offers Vivarin (an alertness aid), Beano (for the prevention of gas), Abreva (a cold sore medication) and Ecotrin (enteric coated aspirin).
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SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare, a division of SmithKline Beecham Plc, has extended its 10th-ranking Ecotrin brand of internal analgesic tablets with Ecotrin Arthritis Relief.
year ago Total mass market ([dagger]) -4.0% Drug stores -3.1% Supermarkets -4.4% Dollar Brand Manufacturer market share Tylenol McNeil 13.3% Advil Wyeth 13.1% Aleve Bayer 7.6% Bayer Bayer 5.5% Tylenol PM McNeil 5.2% Motrin IB McNeil 4.2% Tylenol Arthritis McNeil 2.8% Excedrin Bristol-Myers Squibb 2.6% Ecotrin GlaxoSmithKline 2.2% Excedrin Migraine Bristol-Myers Squibb 2.1% Dollar sales Unit sales Brand (add 000) (add 000) Tylenol $118,345 18,448 Advil 116,255 17,211 Aleve 67,771 10,846 Bayer 48,522 9,700 Tylenol PM 46,487 6,570 Motrin IB 37,268 6,122 Tylenol Arthritis 25,021 3,431 Excedrin 23,151 3,552 Ecotrin 19,195 2,411 Excedrin Migraine 18,762 3,288 * Private label brands account for 24.5% of dollar sales and 30.9% of unit sales.