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Aspirin – what should you know?

Acetylsalicylic acid (Aspirin)

The history of the discovery of this substance, known around the world for over a hundred years, is very turbulent, many scientists attribute this achievement to themselves.

The most popular drugs containing acetylsalicylic acid on the Polish pharmaceutical market include: Acard, Acesan, Alka-Seltzer, Aspirin, Polopiryna, Etopiryna, Polocard, Proficar.


What is the mechanism of action of acetylsalicylic acid?

It consists in the irreversible inhibition of all types of arachidonic acid cyclooxygenase, and thus inhibition of the synthesis of prostanoids: prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), prostaglandin I2 (PGI2) and thromboxane A2. This mechanism lasts for the lifetime of the plate, i.e. about 9/10 days

By inhibiting the synthesis of thromboxane A2 in platelets, the ability of platelets to aggregate and the risk of thromboxane-dependent spasm of the blood vessels is reduced.

The maximum concentration of acetylsalicylic acid in plasma is reached after 10-20 minutes, and of salicylic acid after 0.3-2 hours.

1. Medicine for fever and cold

Due to its good tolerance and strong antipyretic effect, aspirin is suitable for treating cold and flu-like symptoms and for reducing high temperature. It can also be used to relieve pain such as headaches, toothaches, and menstrual pain. In the past, acetylsalicylic acid was recommended for the reduction of pain and inflammation in rheumatic diseases, but other medications are now preferred.

How to use aspirin in the indication above?

– as prescribed by your doctor or the recommended dose is 1 to 3 tablets (300 mg) every 4-6 hours depending on the need.

– the maximum dose of aspirin within 24 hours is 4g. It must not be exceeded!

– must not be combined with other preparations containing acetylsalicylic acid and with drugs such as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

– do not use in children under 16 years of age! Risk of Reye’s syndrome

2. Low doses of ASA (75-150 mg daily) are commonly used to protect the cardiovascular system – cardioprotective effect

Acetylsalicylic acid, next to clopidogrel, is the most important inhibitor of platelet aggregation. It reduces the stickiness of the platelets, thus preventing them from sticking to the inside of the artery and forming a clot. The clot can block a blood vessel, causing a stroke or heart attack. The risk of these events is increased when the lumen of the arteries in the brain or heart is reduced due to lipid build-up. Low doses of acetylsalicylic acid are used in the prevention of stroke and myocardial infarction. . A low dose of acetylsalicylic acid may be recommended for people with heart or blood vessel disease, and for people who have undergone heart bypass surgery (BY-PASSY). Most people who have recently had a heart attack or stroke are also advised to take a low dose of aspirin daily to prevent it from happening again.

Low-dose aspirin pills are available by prescription, but can also be purchased over the counter. However, do not take a regular low-dose aspirin without consulting your doctor.

How to use aspirin in the indication above?

– The most recommended dose is one tablet a day (75 mg) each day. Your dose may be different if, for example, you have recently had heart bypass surgery. Take the tablets as prescribed by your doctor

– You can take the aspirin at any time of the day that is easiest to remember, but try to take the doses at the same time each day. Most people prefer to eat them in the morning with breakfast as it helps them remember them then.

– If you have been prescribed dispersing tablets, take the dose mixed with a little water. It is important to take this type of aspirin pill with something to eat. This helps to reduce the risk of stomach irritation.

– Acetylsalicylic acid gastro-resistant tablets do not need to be taken with meals as these tablets have a special coating that protects the stomach from irritation. The tablets should be swallowed whole without chewing, unless instructed otherwise by your doctor. You can take them with water to make them easier to swallow.

– If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. If you do not remember until the next day, skip the missed dose. Do not take two doses to make up for a forgotten dose.

Side effects resulting from the use of acetylsalicylic acid.

– inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis may contribute to irritation, ulceration and bleeding from the stomach and duodenum, resulting in nausea, vomiting, indigestion, as well as abdominal pain, gastroenteritis.

– in the kidneys, they may cause changes in blood flow, which will result in electrolyte disturbances leading to arterial hypertension.

– the bronchial tubes may over-synthesize leukotrienes, substances that strongly contract the bronchial tubes, and as a consequence, an attack of aspirin-induced asthma and breathing difficulties.

– the risk of vascular disorders including cerebral haemorrhage, especially in patients with uncontrolled hypertension and taking other anticoagulants.

Contraindications to the use of ASA

– people suffering from gastric or duodenal ulcer disease

– pregnant women – they also increase the risk of perinatal complications

– nursing women

– children under 16 years of age

– people with bleeding disorders such as haemophilia or von Willebrand disease

– people with asthma

– before surgery

Check with your doctor or pharmacist for safe use of acetylsalicylic acid.


1. Aspirin SmPC
2. Mutschler, G. Geisslinger, H. K. Kroemer, P. Ruth, Mutschler Pharmacology and Toxicology.
3. Szczeklik, P. Gajewsk, Interna Szczeklik.
4. Pharmacodynamics, a textbook for Students of Pharmacy

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