Despite being available as an over-the-counter drug and being available in just about every household, aspirin is not a drug for everyone. Healthcare providers like General Physician in Karachi prescribe aspirin not only for pain and fever, but also as an anti-rheumatoid agent, as well as, a prophylactic and preventive antiplatelet drug for heart diseases and stroke. However, without proper evaluation by a physician, taking aspirin can worsen certain conditions. Read on to know when not to use aspirin:
How does aspirin work?
Aspirin is an anti-platelet and anti-inflammatory drug. It works by interfering with the clotting mechanism of the blood and decreasing the formation of inflammatory and pain mediators. This is why aspirin relieves pain and fever at low doses and mitigates inflammation at high doses.
Another important mechanism of aspirin is preventing blood from clotting. Platelets cause the blood to form a plug and seal the wound or opening in the blood vessels, while aspirin doesn’t let this happen. This mechanism of aspirin is used by clinicians to prescribe aspirin as preventive medication in procoagulant state.
Newer research data indicates that aspirin is helpful in the prevention of cancers of prostate, colon, rectum, esophagus and stomach. In fact, there is a possibility it plays protective role in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. However, the latter needs more extensive research.
According to the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), daily consumption of aspirin also protects from heart attack and stroke in high risk patients—such as those with diabetes, previous history of heart attack, smokers, high cholesterol and hypertension.
Daily dose of aspirin is, therefore, recommended in individuals with family history of the aforementioned cancers, dementia and heart disease. Whether or not to prescribe aspirin to a patient is a multifactorial decision by a clinician, requiring a lot of thought, and weighing of potential benefits versus the risks.
When not to use aspirin?
While there are many protective benefits of aspirin, this drug is not for everyone. For instance,
Drug allergy: individuals with a known allergy for aspirin should avoid taking it.
Patients of liver disease: aspirin is metabolized by the liver; therefore, patients of liver disease carry the risk of getting high blood levels of aspirin as its clearance is reduced.
Patients of kidney disease: in high doses aspirin reduces the blood supply to the kidneys. In patients who already have kidney disease, even mild doses can dangerously reduce the kidney’s blood supply, thereby potentiating the risk of acute kidney injury (AKI).
Alcohol: aspirin should not be taken by individuals who are known alcoholics. Even people who consume more than three alcoholic drinks a day are advised against taking it.
Uncontrolled hypertension: aspirin if taken by people with uncontrollably high blood pressure carry the risk of incurring hemorrhagic stroke. The antiplatelet property of aspirin makes it a dangerous drug for hemorrhagic disease, particularly hemorrhagic stroke in which the vessels of the brain rupture.
Patients already on anticoagulant drugs: aspirin should not be consumed by people already taking anticoagulant drugs, such as those with heart disease. The summative effect of multiple anticoagulant drugs can be dangerous. Instead such patients may use non-aspirin drugs like acetaminophen for fever or pain relief.
Patients with gastric disease: one side effect of aspirin is that it may reduce the protective effect of prostaglandins in the stomach against gastric acid. In patients with known APD, aspirin is contraindicated, as it may cause life-threatening bleeding and rupture of the ulcer.
If you are not sure whether aspirin is the right drug for you, schedule an appointment with a healthcare professional easily from your home through oladoc.com.