What are the side effects of aspirin?


Quick Answer

Common side effects of aspirin include heartburn, irritation of the stomach or intestines, stomach cramps, and vomiting, according to WebMD. Rarer side effects include stomach or intestinal bleeding, anemia, drowsiness, hives, and bronchospasm. Some patients also experience a mild skin rash or loss of appetite after taking aspirin.

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Full Answer

Patients who take aspirin daily are at risk of side effects including gastrointestinal bleeding and stroke due to a burst blood vessel, explains Mayo Clinic. Taking aspirin each day reduces the risk of clot-related strokes, but it may increase a patient's risk of a hemorrhagic stroke. Those who develop stomach ulcers should not use aspirin daily, since the medication may cause the bleeding to increase, possibly to a life-threatening level.

Because aspirin increases the risk of excessive bleeding during surgery, Mayo Clinic recommends that patients taking aspirin tell their surgeons or dentists how much aspirin they are taking before scheduling a procedure. Patients who regularly take aspirin are advised to moderate their alcohol intake, since drinking alcohol increases the risk of stomach bleeding. Taking heparin, ibuprofen or corticosteroid medications concurrently with aspirin also increases the risk of side effects. Taking coated aspirin, which is designed not to break down until it passes through the stomach and into the intestines, is gentler on the stomach, but it may not reduce the risk of intestinal bleeding.

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