Advice for patients

What is baby aspirin?

Aspirin is one of the most commonly used drugs in the world (Jones, 2005) and the UK. Despite its wide availability and low price, last year in the UK, aspirin was prescribed more than 23 mln times (OpenPrescribing.net, 2019). In this post, I will be talking about baby aspirin.

What is Baby Aspirin?

Baby aspirin refers to aspirin 75mg tablets. Low-dose aspirin (also known as acetylsalicylic acid) is used as blood-thinning medicine to prevent the formation of blood clots to prevent heart attacks or strokes. They are other licensed uses of baby aspirin.

Low dose aspirin is normally taken under the recommendation of a doctor.

Aspirin belongs to a group of drugs called nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). NSAIDs can be taken to reduce pain, inflammation or help with fever symptoms.

Baby aspirin dosage

The usual daily dose of baby aspirin is one 75mg tablet daily.

Depending on your medical condition, sometimes you may be asked to take a higher dose. Low dose aspirin is taken in the morning with/after food to minimise the risk of gastrointestinal side effects.

Possible side effects of baby aspirin

Common side effects include:

  • Dyspepsia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea
  • Increased bleeding tendencies

Baby aspirin formulations

Aspirin 75mg tablets that can be purchased from the pharmacy are available as:

  • Dispersible tablets
  • Gastro-resistant tablets

As the name suggests dispersible baby aspirin can be placed in the water and allow disintegrate before administration. Low-dose dispersible aspirin can be swallowed whole with a drink of water.

Gastro-resistant aspirin 75mg tablets (also known as enteric coated tablets / EC) are formulated to prevent dissolution in the stomach.  Gastro-resistant formulation of low dose aspirin tablets was designed to minimise the risk of stomach irritation, since EC formulation dissolves slowly, releasing the drug in the duodenum (small intestine), after the stomach.

However, there is not enough evidence to support the gastro-protective role of aspirin EC (NECS, 2016). Additionally, there are conflicting opinions suggesting that aspirin EC may have reduced the antiplatelet effects as compared to a standard release aspirin (ibid).

What’s dose of aspirin is taken for pain relief?

Aspirin 300mg is normally taken to manage the pain or to help with the fever. Dose recommendation range from 1-2 tablets taken every 4-6 hours. Read product information leaflet for dose instructions.

References:

Jones Alan (2005). Chemistry: An Introduction for Medical and Health Science, John Wiley and Sons Ltd

OpenPrescrbing.net (2019). Aspirin. Available at: https://openprescribing.net/chemical/0209000A0/ Accessed on 21/06/2019

NECS (2016). Is there evidence to support the use of enteric-coated (EC) aspirin to reduce gastrointestinal side effects in cardiovascular patients? Available at: https://medicines.necsu.nhs.uk/is-there-evidence-to-support-the-use-of-enteric-coated-ec-aspirin-to-reduce-gastrointestinal-side-effects-in-cardiovascular-patients/ Accessed on 20/06/2019

I am a community pharmacist working in UK. I blog about drugs, health and pharmacy.

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