Aspirin is an analgesic medication used primarily to treat mild to moderate pain. It belongs to a class of drugs known as the NSAIDs or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs class. Aspirin achieves its effects through inhibiting prostaglandins and thromboxane. These two hormones in the body play key roles in the transmission of pain signals to the brain as well as determining blood viscosity. In addition to being used for the treatment of pain, aspirin is also used as a blood thinner for a variety of medical applications. Two of the most common of these practices are stroke prevention and heart attack prevention. Due to aspirin's broad application of uses it is available in many different dosages. It is important those who plan on taking aspirin determine the appropriate aspirin dosage before proceeding with their treatment.
The frequency at which aspirin dosing should occur is slightly different depending upon what condition is being treated.
The recommended amount of time between dosages for treating pain is 4-6 hours. If the pain is mild it is recommended to dose closer to every 6 hour mark rather than 4. This will help to reduce the risks of side effects.
For rheumatoid arthritis it is recommended to take aspirin every 4 hours. For some cases of rheumatoid arthritis, larger dosages are taken but only twice daily as opposed to every 4 hours.
When being used in order to prevent blood clots aspirin is only taken once a day.
Different dosage amounts
Aspirin is manufactured in a variety of dosage amounts. The smallest dose it is available at is either 75mg or 81mg tablets depending on the country of origin. These are known as “baby” aspirin though they are not recommended by doctors any longer to be given to children due to the possibility of a potentially fatal reaction known as Reye's syndrome developing. Instead this dosage of aspirin is recommended for its use as a blood thinning agent for those who are at a higher risk for either a stroke or a heart attack.
The next size dosage aspirin comes in is 325mg. This dosage can be used to treat mild pain or headaches. It can also be useful in lowering a fever.
The highest dose aspirin is manufactured in is 500mg. This should be used in instances where 325mg will not be adequate enough to treat the pain. For cases of more severe pain or severe rheumatoid arthritis doctors may recommend taking doses greater than 500mg.
Enteric coated aspirin
Some manufacturers of aspirin also offer a version which is enteric coated. Enteric coating means that the aspirin is safely coated. The substance which the aspirin tablet is coated with is less irritating to the stomach which helps to reduce the side effects of gastrointestinal discomfort which often accompanies the taking of aspirin.
Some studies have remained inconclusive as to whether or not the enteric coating actually reduces stomach irritation. It is also important to note that the enteric coating will slow down the absorption of the aspirin. For this reason enteric coated aspirin should not be taken when fast pain relief is needed.