Aspirin to prevent blood clots 

Aspirin tablets iamge

For people who have heart or blood vessel disease, taking low-dose aspirin each day can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

The usual dose is one low-dose aspirin tablet (75 mg) each day.

If you ever suspect that a child has accidentally swallowed some aspirin, contact your doctor for advice straightaway.

Type of medicine An antiplatelet medicine
Used for To prevent clots from forming in blood vessels
Also called Acetylsalicylic acid
Danamep®; Nu-Seals®
Available as Tablets, gastro-resistant (enteric coated) tablets and soluble (dispersible) tablets

In your blood there are 'sticky' cells called platelets. When you cut yourself, the platelets stick to each other (clot) to seal the wound. Sometimes platelets stick to each other inside an artery - this is called a thrombus. A thrombus can block a blood vessel, and this is often the cause of a strokes or heart attack. This is more likely to happen if the walls of the arteries to your head or heart have areas which have become thickened with fat deposits. Aspirin reduces the stickiness of platelets, and this helps prevent the platelets from sticking to the inside of an artery and forming a thrombus. This reduces the risk of you having a heart attack or stroke. When aspirin is used in this way, it is often referred to as 'low-dose' aspirin. Each tablet contains 75 mg of aspirin. Low-dose aspirin can be recommended for people with heart or blood vessel disease, and for people who have had heart bypass surgery. Most people who have recently had a heart attack or stroke will also be advised to take daily low-dose aspirin to help to prevent it from happening again.

Low-dose aspirin tablets are available on prescription, and you can also buy them without a prescription. However, do not take regular low-dose aspirin without discussing the advantages and disadvantages of doing so with your doctor.

At higher doses, aspirin is used to relieve pain and high temperature (fever). There is more information about this use of aspirin in a leaflet called Aspirin for pain or fever.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking aspirin it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with aspirin. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Common aspirin side-effects What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling sick (nausea), indigestion Stick to simple foods, and if you are not doing so, take your dose of aspirin after a meal. If this continues, speak with your doctor for further advice
Increased risk of bleeding If you notice any unexplained bleeding, speak with a doctor for advice

Important: aspirin may cause allergic reactions; this is more common in people who have asthma. Stop taking aspirin and speak with a doctor urgently if you have an allergic reaction or develop any breathing difficulties.

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the tablets, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.