What is ASA?
Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) belongs to the groups of drugs called antipyretics (fever reducers), platelet aggregation inhibitors (anti clotting agents), analgesics (pain relievers), and anti-inflammatories (inflammation reducers).
It is mainly used to prevent clot formation in your blood vessels.
What are the uses of ASA?
ASA works by interfering with the production of substances in the body that cause fever, blood clots, pain, and inflammation.
Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) is used for the following conditions:
- Neck and lower back pain
- Common cold
- Menstrual pain
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Strains and sprains
- Muscle pain
- Following dental and surgical procedures
Because of its anti-clotting properties, ASA may be used to:
- Prevent nonfatal heart attack in individuals with an increased risk
- Prevent stroke or second heart attack
- Reduce the risk of a mini-stroke
- Reduce the risk of death or complications in people with unstable angina
- Prevent blood clots in individuals who have had a total hip replacement
- Reduce the risk of clotting in people receiving hemodialysis
The medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your physician or pharmacist for detailed information.
How do you use ASA?
- Take this medicine orally once daily, with or without food or as prescribed by your physician.
- Take this tablet daily at the same time.
- Follow all the instructions on the prescription label.
- Do not stop taking this medication abruptly without consulting your doctor.
- Do not take it more or less, or take it more than often than prescribed by your doctor.
- Do not stop using it even if you feel well.
Your physician may start you with a low dose and gradually increase your dose. It may take several weeks before you begin to notice the full benefits of the medication.
If You Miss the Dose
- If you happen to miss a dose of ASA, take the missed dose as soon as you remember.
- However, if it is almost time for the next dose, do not take the missed dose and continue with your next scheduled dose.
- Do not take a double dose to compensate for the missed dose.
What are the side-effects and risks of ASA?
Like all other medications, ASA may cause side effects, although it is unlikely to happen in everyone. However, it is important that you are aware of what could be the possible side effects.
Common side effects:
- Increased tendency for bleeding
Uncommon Side effects
- Runny nose
- Breathing difficulty
Rare side effects
- Nausea and vomiting
- Inflammation of the blood vessels
- Sudden asthma attack, cramps in the lower respiratory tract
- Severe bleeding in the intestines or stomach
- Brain hemorrhage
- Altered number of blood cells
- Severe skin reactions, such as erythema multiforme (a type of rash) and its life-threatening forms Lyell's syndrome and Stevens-Johnson syndrome
- Abnormally heavy or prolonged menstrual cycles
- Hypersensitivity reaction such as shock or swelling of face, lips, or body
- Cutaneous bleeding, bruising with purple spots
Serious side effects
- Reddening of the skin with peeling or blisters and may be associated with joint pains or high fever
- Sudden swelling of your lips, body, or face, wheezing, fainting or difficulties swallowing
- Unusual bleeding, such as blood in your vomit or urine, coughing up blood, or black stools.
Unknown side effects
- Reduced hearing ability or ringing in your ears
- Prolonged bleeding time
- Impaired liver function
- Ulcers in the small intestine or stomach and perforation
- Impaired kidney function
- High uric acid level in the blood
- Salt or water retention that may cause swelling of feet, stomach, breasts, face, hands, or face.
This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. Please consult your doctor to know more about other possible side effects.
Who should not take ASA?
Inform your physician if you have the following conditions before starting ASA:
- Severe liver or kidney disorders
- Allergic reactions with swelling of lips, face, tongue, or throat
- Ulcer in the stomach or small intestine
- Bleeding disorders
- Heart disorders
- High blood pressure
- Nasal polyps, hay fever, or other long-standing respiratory tract problems
- Heavy menstrual cycles
- Small intestine or stomach disorders
Talk to your doctor before taking ASA if:
- You are taking any other medication, are pregnant, breastfeeding, or planning a pregnancy.
- You are allergic to ASA or any of its ingredients or have any other allergies.
- You are allergic to salicylates or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- You are allergic to any other medication.
- You are taking any other drugs, over-the-counter medicines, herbal products, or nutritional supplements.
Besides, certain medicines may interfere with its working and thus might not be safe to take them together. Some of them are:
- Somatostatin Acetate
- Vitamin E
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Mineral or multivitamin supplements
- Valproic acid and sodium valproate
- Vaccine for chickenpox
- Corticosteroids, such as hydrocortisone, dexamethasone, prednisone
- Calcium channel blockers, such as amlodipine, nifedipine, diltiazem verapamil
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, such as lisinopril, fosinopril, ramipril
- Diabetes medications, such as glyburide, metformin, chlorpropamide, insulin, rosiglitazone
- Herbal products that affect blood clotting, such as chamomile, evening primrose, garlic, turmeric, cat's claw, fenugreek, feverfew, ginger, ginseng, white willow
- Loop diuretics, such as furosemide and bumetanide
- Low-molecular-weight heparins, such as enoxaparin, dalteparin, tinzaparin
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, indomethacin
- Quinolone antibiotics, such as norfloxacin, ciprofloxacin, ofloxacin
- Serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, such as duloxetine, desvenlafaxine, venlafaxine
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as fluoxetine, sertraline, citalopram, paroxetine
- Sulfonamide antibiotics, such as sulfamethoxazole, sulfisoxazole
- Tetracyclines, such as minocycline, doxycycline, tetracycline
- Tricyclic antidepressants, such as clomipramine, trimipramine, amitriptyline, desipramine
This may not be a comprehensive list, and other drugs may interact with ASA. Please inform your doctor if you are taking any of the medicines listed above.
When should you not take ASA?
You should not take ASA if:
- It has passed the expiry date of the medicine printed on the pack.
- The packaging shows signs of tampering
- You have grapefruit juice
- You have alcohol
- You have surgery planned, even a tooth extraction
- You are taking methotrexate at doses of 15 mg or more per week