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What Is Buffered Aspirin?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Buffered aspirin is aspirin with a coating of a buffering agent that will reduce the risk of stomach damage. Normal aspirin can concentrate in the walls of the stomach, leading to stomach bleeding and ulcers. To limit these undesirable side effects, patients may take buffered aspirin or aspirin with an enteric coating, with the goal of protecting the intestinal tract. It is still possible to experience gastrointestinal bleeds, and patients should stop taking the medication if they notice dark, tarry stools or severe stomach cramps.

Aspirin on its own is acidic and can act upon the stomach and intestines. With this kind of aspirin, the drug is mixed with an agent like calcium carbonate or magnesium oxide to facilitate passage through the stomach without collecting in the stomach walls. The aspirin will pass through to the intestines, where the body can start uptaking useful chemical compounds to address aches and pains. It will also reduce the blood's ability to clot, a side effect that may be desirable in some patients, such as people on aspirin therapy to prevent heart attacks.

The clear benefit of buffered aspirin is the lower risk of stomach damage, particularly in patients with sensitive stomachs and individuals who are taking the drug in the long term. The drawback is that it tends to be less effective, as the buffering agent blunts the effects of the aspirin. Patients may notice that it takes longer to work or doesn't provide complete relief for pain and irritation. It is important to take the drug as directed to avoid complications, and patients should not take more pills if the first dose does not work as desired.

Most drug stores sell buffered aspirin along with other aspirin products. It is generally only recommended for use in adults. With children, there is a risk of causing a complication called Reyes syndrome. Parents of children with headaches, inflammation, and joint pain can consult a nurse or pediatrician to get advice on the best medication to use to keep the child comfortable. The care provider will also have information on dosage, as it may be necessary to use a small dosage for a particularly young child.

Buffered aspirin has a long shelf life, and it can be a useful thing to keep in a first aid kit. Some companies make single dose blisterpacks, which can be convenient for small first aid kits where space may be limited, making it impractical to include a full bottle of aspirin.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon1002093 — On Sep 05, 2019

Buffered aspirin should not be cut or crushed. It has a coating that keeps the aspirin from dissolving in your stomach, so that it will be taken up in your intestine. Cutting or crushing the tablet exposes the aspirin to your stomach, making the coating worthless.

By anon959322 — On Jul 03, 2014

What is the name brand for a good dog aspirin?

By OeKc05 — On Mar 01, 2012

My dad takes a low dose of enteric coated aspirin every day. He found out not long ago that his arteries are partially clogged, and he takes the aspirin to keep himself from having a heart attack or stroke.

His doctor told him that this would be fine, but he should never quit taking daily aspirin cold turkey. This could cause a blood clot. He would have to be weaned off of it, should he ever need to stop taking it.

Since he takes the enteric coated kind, I don't think he will have any reason to stop. He won't be experiencing any gastrointestinal problems, since the coating prevents this.

By lighth0se33 — On Feb 29, 2012

@Oceana – I actually have a prescription from my vet for buffered aspirin. I occasionally give it to my aging Weimaraner to help her with her arthritis symptoms.

I like relying on this prescription, rather than just giving my dog an estimated dosage of people aspirin. It's safer that way.

Also, buffered aspirin for dogs is cheaper than brand name arthritis medications made especially for dogs. If your dog only has occasional pains, you can use aspirin. However, it isn't good to give it to them every day over the long term. For that, you would need something else.

By Oceana — On Feb 29, 2012

Does anyone here know if it is safe to give aspirin to a dog? My Doberman is getting on up in years, and she has stiff joints and trouble walking as well as she used to. I would love to give her some of my buffered aspirin, but I don't want to risk it.

My cousin used to give her dog a baby aspirin for inflammation, and it seemed to work for her. I would rather hear from someone who has given their dog buffered aspirin, though, because I don't want to irritate my dog's stomach, but I want to make sure it is safe for her to take.

By kylee07drg — On Feb 28, 2012

I've always had a sensitive stomach, and regular aspirin caused me to develop cramps and ulcers. I thought I was going to have to quit taking it, but then I discovered buffered aspirin.

It never causes me any problems. I'm sure it might if I took it every day, but I only need it occasionally.

I sometimes get headaches in my temples that are piercing and persistent. I've tried acetaminophen, but aspirin is the only thing that makes them go away. I keep a bottle of buffered aspirin in my purse in case a headache springs up while I'm out somewhere, and many times, I have been glad to have it.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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