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What is Low Dose Aspirin?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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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.

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.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
By anon287371 — On Aug 25, 2012

My doctor has me on low dosage of aspirin, vitamin d, and niacin. What I have noticed is that sometimes I get black and blue marks on my body. What does that mean?

By pharmchick78 — On Aug 28, 2010

@yournamehere -- Low dose aspirin therapy, such as Bayer low dose baby aspirin can be very effective for preventing heart attacks and strokes, but, like any regimen, you really have to consult your doctor first.

As bestcity said, daily aspirin can be dangerous, even in low dosages, so be sure to talk to your doctor before starting even a low dose aspirin regimen.

By CopperPipe — On Aug 28, 2010

Is it OK to take 81 mg aspirin without consulting a doctor first? Is the dosage low enough to be safe for everyone?

By yournamehere — On Aug 28, 2010

How effective is low dose baby aspirin for a heart attack? I hear all these commercials talking about the benefits of low dose aspirin therapy for stroke and heart attacks, but is it really true?

By bestcity — On Aug 31, 2009

Low dose aspirin might be good for some people, but not for all. Daily aspirin, even in low dose can cause serious internal bleeding.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
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