Aspirin: Side Effects & Drug Interactions

Instructor: Justine Fritzel

Justine has been a Registered Nurse for 10 years and has a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing degree.

Aspirin is a drug with many different uses, but there are still factors to consider before taking this medication. In this lesson, we will review the side effects of aspirin as well as its interactions with other drugs.


Aspirin is a medication used for pain, fever, and inflammation. It is also a blood thinner, and your doctor may recommend that you take it regularly to prevent heart attacks or stroke. Besides having these medical uses, it has a variety of non-medical uses! Adding aspirin to a vase of flowers helps the flowers to last longer. Or applying a face mask with aspirin in it will help improve your complexion.


Aspirin was discovered in the late 1800s and has been widely used since that time. In the 1950s, it was recognized as the world's highest-selling drug. It is so popular that over 3500 articles are written about aspirin every year. In fact, close to one hundred billion aspirin tablets are produced every year!

Aspirin is tolerated well by most people, but there are still important factors to consider before taking aspirin. First, let's look at the side effects of aspirin.

Side Effects

Side effects are secondary effects from a medication that are typically undesirable. If you read about the side effects of any medication, it could easily convince you not to take it! Keep in mind that any reported side effects are required to be listed, but they may have occurred very rarely, so it doesn't mean you will necessarily experience them.

Common side effects of aspirin include heartburn, nausea, and upset stomach. If these side effects are ongoing or if they are distressing, contact your doctor. If these symptoms occur, taking the medication with food will usually eliminate these side effects. There is also an enteric-coated aspirin that dissolves in your intestines, therefore eliminating any stomach upset.

There are also more severe side effects. If you have any of these side effects, seek immediate medical attention. If you experience hives, rash, itching, swelling of the mouth or face, difficulty breathing or tightness in your chest, you are likely having a severe allergic reaction. If you have unusual bruising, vomiting, confusion, dizziness, or black or bloody stools, you may have a gastrointestinal bleed.

Aspirin should not be given to children with a viral illness due to the risk of developing Reye's syndrome. Reye's syndrome occurs shortly after a viral infection and includes symptoms of vomiting, neurological problems, and liver problems. This may be a life-threatening condition.

Again, there is a long list of side effects that may occur. Consult your doctor before starting aspirin. It is also important to consider drug interactions before taking aspirin. Let's look at these next.

Drug Interactions

A total of 496 drugs are known to have drug interactions with aspirin! Most of them are considered moderate drug interactions, but 81 are considered major drug interactions. We will review a couple of the major drug interactions.

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