To Aspirin or Not To Aspirin?

If you are using aspirin, Dr. Arrondo recommends that you make sure that you and your physician have discussed the risks and benefits associated with it. Here are some of the most common possible side effects:

  • Gastrointestinal bleeding. The risk of gastrointestinal bleeding is significantly increased by long-term use of aspirin. Combining aspirin with other NSAIDs has also been shown to further increase this risk and is, therefore, not recommended.
  • Prolonged bleeding. The property that gives aspirin its anticoagulant benefit also increases the risk of bleeding, including micro-bleeding in the brain, and slows the healing of wounds.
  • Hives. For people with salicylate intolerance, aspirin can trigger an allergy-like reaction which includes hives, swelling, and headache.
  • Ringing in the ears. Large doses of aspirin may cause tinnitus and even hearing loss.
  • Reye’s syndrome. Aspirin should not be used to treat flu, fever or chicken pox for children under the age of twelve as it may cause this rare but severe illness.

Due to the risks involved, long-term use of aspirin to prevent heart attack or stroke in healthy individuals is not recommended, even at low dosage. If you intend to use aspirin for this purpose, consult a qualified physician first to weigh the benefits against the possible dangers of prolonged aspirin use.