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Low dose aspirin the drug aspirin or salicylic acid in a much lower dose than the adult aspirin tablet. Adult aspirin usually contains 325 mg of salicylic acid per tablet. Different brands of low dose aspirin contain 81-100 mg of salicylic acid. The 81 mg dose is the most common.
This is the same dose that was used as baby aspirin for many years. Unfortunately children and infants are at risk for developing Reye’s syndrome if they take aspirin while they have certain types of illnesses. Though baby aspirin may still be sold and can be a substitute for low dose aspirin, it is usually not recommended for children. Baby and children forms of the drug are also chewable, which may not be perfect for adults who would prefer to swallow a pill.
Commonly, low dose aspirin is used as anti-coagulation therapy for people at risk for heart attacks and stroke. People on aspirin therapy take one aspirin a day, and when they buy the low dose and not the baby version, they can avoid having to deal with chewable drugs. Small doses of this medication can help keep the blood thinner, which may help to prevent formation of blood clots.
Some children are on aspirin therapy too. Kids with certain kinds of heart defects or who have had heart surgery may require baby or low dose aspirin on a daily basis. Both adults and kids tend to take the same 81 mg dose. The main difference with kids is that they need to be off aspirin if they get fevers, have stomach flu or have been exposed to chicken pox.
Check with your doctor for other recommendations regarding this. Though aspirin use may make kids more at risk for Reye’s syndrome, lower doses do seem to create lower incidence of Reye’s. A child who gets more than one dose of baby aspirin a day to treat a high fever would be more at risk than a child on a daily low dose.
Some people do have stomach problems when they take even low dose aspirin. You can find buffered forms, and others have fewer problems if they take the aspirin with a glass of milk. Some doctors now recommend taking aspirin every other day, but you should do this only if your doctor recommends it.
There is one instance where low dose aspirin is not adequate in dosage. If you think you are having a heart attack, you should take a regular aspirin tablet. The smaller dose may not help as much. If you are on aspirin therapy for heart disease keep some adult aspirin on hand in case of heart attack. If you don’t have any and think you’re having a heart attack, take four baby or low dose tablets, which is roughly equivalent to a single adult tablet.