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What Are the Different Types of Aspirin Products?

By Christina Edwards
Updated: Mar 03, 2024

Aspirin is one of the most common over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers, and it is also a common ingredient in many other types of over-the-counter medications. Baby aspirin has a small dose of aspirin, and many doctors recommend it to help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Some aspirin products are also used to help relieve cold and flu symptoms. Aspirin and products containing aspirin can cause stomach problems in some people, especially if taken incorrectly.

Classified as a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), aspirin is one of the most popular over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. It is made up of acetylsalicylic acid, which can be found in the bark of the willow tree. Some aspirin products can be used to reduce swelling of injured areas.

Some of the most popular aspirin products are used as analgesics, or pain killers. Aspirin typically works best on certain types of pain, particularly dull aching pains. When paired with caffeine, aspirin effects are enhanced, although it is still not as strong as some other over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen.

Low-dose aspirin usually contains a very small dose of aspirin, and it is often referred to as baby aspirin. This medication helps thin the blood, so it can move easier through the arteries and other blood vessels. Many doctors often advise some people to take one baby aspirin each day to help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

Along with relieving aches and pains, aspirin is also very effective at lowering fevers. It is sometimes added to cold and flu medication because of this. This type of medicine may be in tablet, gel cap, or effervescent tablet form.

Effervescent aspirin is one of the most common types of products for this type of illness. These large tablets are supposed to be dropped into glasses of water. When they come in contact with the water, they begin to fizz and dissolve. After the aspirin tablets are dissolved, a cold sufferer can drink the mixture to help relieve his symptoms.

Although they can often help cure many ailments, aspirin and aspirin products should be taken with caution. They can cause a number of side effects and problems. Stomach problems are typically the most common side effects of aspirin. This can range from a mild upset stomach to a more serious bleeding ulcer. To avoid these side effects, aspirin products can be taken with food or milk.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon1000852 — On Jan 13, 2019

Yes, aspirin is a blood thinner, so it shouldn't be taken along with other blood thinning substances, like garlic, as well as several other medicines.

Apparently research has shown that coated aspirin is as damaging as regular ones. The reason is H. pylori, a bacteria that gives no symptoms but reacts with aspirin, is causing damage to the lining of the stomach.

Some people claim the damage is lessened if the aspirin is taken with plenty of water as well as after eating.

I was going to take it because I'm allergic to Ibuprofen, Tylenol and Paracetamol, but my stomach is already a wreck so I guess I'll just keep using diclofenac cream for my injuries.

By SarahSon — On Mar 06, 2012

@julies - Have you ever tried taking enteric coated aspirin? This type of aspirin has a coating over it that is supposed to be safer for your stomach.

Instead of dissolving in the stomach, it is supposed to dissolve in the small intestine. This will give you the same results, but protect your stomach too.

You might also want to try acetaminophen, which is the active ingredient in something like Tylenol.

Some people claim this isn't as effective as aspirin, but it would be better than using nothing at all.

I have used most of the over the counter pain relievers when I am feeling achy and feverish. I am just glad there is more than one choice.

Many years ago, about the only choice people had was aspirin, but like all medications, it can have some long term side effects.

By julies — On Mar 05, 2012

Has anybody had stomach problems from taking too much aspirin?

I was told I needed to take something else besides aspirin or ibuprofen because I developed chronic gastritis from taking too much of this product.

This was really hard to hear because I found that aspirin worked better than anything else. Every now and then I can get by with taking one, but if I take too much, I can feel my stomach start to hurt again.

My mom told me my grandpa had a similar problem, and it got so bad for him that he had to be hospitalized.

If you can't take aspirin, what do you recommend for aches, pains and fevers?

By golf07 — On Mar 04, 2012

The best product I have found for my frequent headaches, is aspirin and caffeine. I have found the generic brands of this combination work just as well as any name brands.

For some reason, the combination of these two ingredients really take care of my headache quickly, and keep it away. When I take aspirin without the caffeine, I don't get the same results.

I always keep aspirin with me because I never know when I might need some. I always make sure I have some at home, in my purse, my desk drawer at work, and the glove box of my car.

A bad headache can put me out of commission if I don't take something right away, so I try to always have some aspirin handy when I need it.

By LisaLou — On Mar 03, 2012

My husband was told to take one baby aspirin a day to help reduce his risk of a heart attack. He took this every day for about 6 months, and then noticed that he would bruise very easily.

He never had a problem with this before he started taking the aspirin every day. He also noticed it would take a long time for any kind of cut to stop bleeding.

If he cut himself while shaving, he thought he would never get the bleeding stopped. When he gave blood and they put a band-aid over the spot where they stick you with the needle, it was still bleeding after a day.

He never had these problems until he started taking the baby aspirin every day. He stopped taking it, and hasn't had any problems since then.

For him the side effects of taking the aspirin every day were greater than reducing his chance for a heart attack. Even though it was a small amount, the aspirin seemed to be thinning out his blood too much.

By Mammmood — On Mar 02, 2012

@hamje32 - You definitely don’t want to do that long term. While I realize that some doctors recommend an aspirin a day, I’ve become a little more suspicious of that advice.

I’ve read that even small dosages such as you would get with so called baby aspirin can increase your risk of getting ulcers. Of course the greater the dosage, the greater will be your risk.

But the point is that there is no real safe level, in my opinion. Aspirin is a drug, and like all drugs, it can cause side effects with long term use.

By hamje32 — On Mar 01, 2012

I had some steel fillings put in my teeth years ago and the dentist had to drill deep. It was almost a root canal and the pain was excruciating for days afterwards.

Someone told me to take a few tablets of aspirin and crush them and put them between my teeth. That helped a little. But I discovered that I got better results if I just swallowed the tablets!

The pain went away completely, and for several days, this was my routine, just popping several aspirin tablets into my mouth. Sometimes I would do this twice a day. I don’t recommend that you do that but I guess that for short term pain relief it’s okay.

By seag47 — On Mar 01, 2012

I have a friend with an old dog, and she used to give him aspirin for his arthritis. He is a pretty big dog, and she called her vet to get the proper dosage for his size.

Since her dog weighed 50 pounds, she was able to give him half of a regular aspirin. Dogs over 100 pounds can take a full human dose of 2 aspirin, but small dogs have to take part of a baby aspirin.

Young dogs and small dogs can be poisoned by aspirin, though. Really, it's best to have a prescription for doggie arthritis medicine, because it is formulated just for them, but if your dog is having pains and you don't have anything else to give him, it can work.

By cloudel — On Mar 01, 2012

@OeKc05 – It sure does lessen the intensity of the hangover. I used to drink quite a bit back in college, and I would take a couple of aspirin with a glass of water before going to sleep, and my hangover would be much lighter than the ones my friends had.

It also helps to take another dose of aspirin in the morning. It knocks out the headache before it has a chance to intensify.

I no longer drink, but I still use aspirin for other aches and pains. I find it to be much more effective than acetaminophen at relieving soreness and headaches.

By OeKc05 — On Feb 29, 2012

Has anyone else here ever heard that aspirin can help prevent a hangover? My friends who drank heavily always said that if they took a dose of aspirin after a night of partying, then they would not have a hangover when they woke up in the morning.

I never drink more than one glass of wine, if that, so I just wonder if it works for people who are heavy drinkers. I have found that if I take aspirin after a day of hiking, it prevents my muscles from being terribly sore the next morning, so maybe it's the same concept.

By lighth0se33 — On Feb 28, 2012

I miss being able to take aspirin for pain relief. I found out I had a kidney disease seven years ago, and I haven't been able to take aspirin since.

Aspirin can be toxic to kidneys, especially if their function is impaired. My kidney function is all right, but it is below the ideal level of a person with normal kidneys, so I can't do anything that might cause them harm. I want them to last as long as possible.

I remember that aspirin was always great at relieving my headaches. I also would take it to relieve sore muscles after a day of strenuous activity.

By ElizaBennett — On Feb 28, 2012

I just want to remind everyone that "baby aspirin" is an old-fashioned name. These days, doctors advise that you should *never* give aspirin to a child under twelve because of the risk of a rare disease called Reyes Syndrome (if I recall correctly).

I guess baby aspirin used to be a low dose for children, and then doctors realized that for some people, it was the right dose for preventing heart problems and stroke. So they still make that dose even though it should not be given to children.

Kids from birth can take acetaminophen and from six months (or maybe sooner - ask your pediatrician) they can take ibuprofen, which might be better for some purposes. For instance, my ped. told me that if your child has a fever after a vaccination, ibuprofen is a better choice as it interferes less with the immune response. Ask your child's doctor which is best.

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