Preventive Cardiology: Aspirin
Commonly Used Brand and Generic Names:
- Pain relief
- Fever reduction
- Reducing the risk of dying when having a heart attack
- Preventing a heart attack or stroke
Mechanism for How It Works
- Analgesic/Anti-inflammatory, nonsteroidal —This inhibits the body’s production of a hormone-like substance called prostaglandin. This chemical causes pain by stimulating muscles contractions and blood vessel dilation. Aspirin may also fight inflammation in a plaque caused by atherosclerosis .
- Antithrombotic (blood thinning)/Platelet aggregation inhibitor —This prevents platelets from releasing the prostaglandin thromboxane, which causes platelets to clump together in a blood clot. This helps prevent potentially fatal formation of new blood clots in diseased blood vessels.
- Blood thinners
- Oral medicines used to treat diabetes
- Other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines
- Potassium citrate
- Dong quai
- St. John's Wort
- White willow
Other Potential Concerns
- Liver or kidney disease
- Peptic ulcer or other gastrointestinal bleeding disorder, or those at risk for these disorders
- Allergy or intolerance to aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Hemophilia or other bleeding problems—the chance of bleeding may be increased
- Gout —salicylates can make this condition worse and can also lessen the effects of some medicines used to treat gout
- Syndrome of asthma, rhinitis, and nasal polyps
- Children and adolescents with a viral infection
- Pregnant or lactating women
American Heart Association http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/
US Food and Drug Administration http://www.fda.gov/
American Academy of Family Physicians http://www.aafp.org/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index%5Fe.html/
Antiplatelet agents for secondary prevention of stroke.http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated December 14, 2012. Accessed December 14, 2012.
Aspirin. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated November 2, 2012. Accessed December 14, 2012.
Aspirin and Heart Disease. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/PreventionTreatmentofHeartAttack/Aspirin-and-Heart-Disease%5FUCM%5F321714%5FArticle.jsp. December 11, 2012. Accessed December 14, 2012.
Aspirin for Primary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated July 9, 2012. Accessed December 14, 2012.
Holmes MD, Chen WY. Hiding in Plain View: The Potential for Commonly Used Drugs to Reduce Breast Cancer Mortality. Breast Cancer Res. 2012;14(2):216.
McCowan C, Munro AJ, Donnan PT, et al. Use of Aspirin Post-Diagnosis in a Cohort of Patients with Colorectal Cancer and its Association with All-Cause and Colorectal Cancer Specific Mortality. Eur J Cancer. 2012;poo:S0959-8049912)00858-1.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs. EBSCO Natural and Alternative Treatments website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthlibrary/. Updated July 25, 2012. Accessed December 14, 2012.
Reimers MS, Bastiaannet E, va Herk-Sukel MP. Aspirin Use After Diagnosis Improves Survival in Older Adults with Colon Cancer: A Retrospective Cohort Study. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012;60(12):2232-2236.
- Reviewer: Brian Randall, MD
- Review Date: 12/2012 -
- Update Date: 12/14/2012 -