Please note: The information given on this page is not medical advice and should not be relied on in this way. Individuals wanting medical advice on this issue should consult a health professional.
Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is a pharmaceutical drug used to reduce pain and/or inflammation. It is classified as a 'Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID)'.
Aspirin can be used to treat:
Some people misuse aspirin by intentionally taking more than the recommended dose in a mistaken attempt to get 'high', or as an act of self-harm2.
Aspirin is usually swallowed and comes in different forms including:
Aspirin may also be known by its brand or trade names. Some common examples include:
There is no safe level of drug use. Use of any drug always carries some risk – even medications can produce unwanted side effects. It's important to be careful when taking any type of drug.
Aspirin affects everyone differently, based on:
The most common side effects of aspirin are:
If the dose is too high, the following symptoms may be experienced. If any of the following effects are experienced an ambulance should be called straight away by dialling triple zero (000).
Regular use of aspirin may eventually cause the following effects. It's best to discuss the side effects of long term use with a medical practitioner.
Using aspirin with other drugs
The effects of taking aspirin with other drugs, including alcohol, prescription medications and other over-the-counter medicines, are often unpredictable.
Aspirin can alter the effects of some blood pressure medicines and may increase the risk of bleeding if taken with medicines such as warfarin.1
Reducing the risks
1. Upfal J. (2006) The Australian Drug Guide (7th Ed.) Melbourne: Black Inc.
2. Perez, E. (2013). Aspirin overdose.
3. National Heart Foundation of Australia. (2009). Aspirin [PDF:130KB].
Last updated: 3 May 2016