What Are the Effects of Taking Aspirin and Caffeine Together?

Caffeine can help enhance the effects of aspirin.
Some people may experience an allergic reaction to aspirin and caffeine, which can result in hives.
Article Details
  • Written By: Matt Brady
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
  • Print this Article

When combined, aspirin and caffeine can act as an enhanced pain reliever. The caffeine doesn't necessarily make the analgesic effects of aspirin more powerful, but it does speed up the relief; caffeine speeds up the heart rate and blood flow, which serves to ferry aspirin throughout the system at a faster rate. Aspirin and caffeine are also combined for use as a weight loss supplement. Ephedrine, caffeine and aspirin (ECA) stacks have long been used in exercise routines. ECA stacks are sometimes packaged and marketed for sale by nutrition companies, although that practice has declined as ECA stacks have come under suspicion for causing heart attacks, strokes and other health problems.

Aspirin and caffeine have long been used together as a method for relieving pain. In fact, some companies that manufacture analgesics use caffeine in their products. For example, acetaminophen, a medication use for pain relief and fever reduction, is often combined with caffeine to form an even more effective analgesic. Many medications marketed as headache remedies have both caffeine and aspirin as ingredients as well.

Ad

Although it's generally safe to take aspirin and caffeine for pain relief, caution should be exercised. Consuming alcohol while ingesting pain relievers, for example, can be severely damaging to the liver, and may result in other adverse reactions. Overconsumption can cause stomach ulcers as well. Pregnant women also are often advised to steer clear of taking such substances, both for the mother's and the baby's health. Aspirin has also been linked to the development of Reyes Syndrome in children and teens; individuals in those age brackets should seek out other options for pain management.

Consuming aspirin and caffeine together also may result in weight loss. For example, ECA stacks, which often are used for weight loss and weight lifting exercises, contain both ingredients and can help burn fat and increase athletic stamina, but at a serious risk; nutrition products containing ephedrine have been linked to heart problems, strokes and other life-threatening conditions. For public safety, many places throughout the world have banned the sale of ECA products — in the U.S., Canada and Europe, sales of such products have been limited or curtailed altogether.

Many people experience allergic reactions to aspirin or caffeine, or both. The severity of allergic reactions can vary. The most severe reactions can result in difficult breathing, hives, swelling and loss of consciousness. Caffeine and aspirin also can have negative interactions with other medications and even herbal supplements and vitamins. For such reasons, it's advised to consult a personal doctor before taking any product containing these substances.

Ad

More from Wisegeek

You might also Like

Discuss this Article

anon953457
Post 4

Caffeine increases blood flow, not decrease. Aspirin does thin the blood, and when combined with caffeine it flows at a pretty good rate! I work a incredibly physical job in a warehouse (walking 25 miles daily, loading thousands of cases weighing 1lb-85lbs each onto pallets all day) and caffeine and aspirin are almost mandatory for us!

candyquilt
Post 3

Caffeine and aspirin is a great alternative to more expensive OTC pain relievers. I take them together for migraines.

bear78
Post 2

@ysmina-- That might be the effect of caffeine alone, but when taken with aspirin, the effects are different. Caffeine makes our heart beat faster which means that blood flows throughout the body at a faster rate. Aspirin is not just a pain reliever, but also a blood thinner. So when someone takes aspirin with caffeine, the pain reliever circulates through the body very quickly.

This is why many people take an aspirin followed by a cup of coffee after a hangover. It relieves headaches very quickly.

The downside is that caffeine is diuretic and will expel water from the body through urine. So if you take aspirin and caffeine together, you need to drink plenty of water to avoid being dehydrated.

The more serious risk is damaging the liver. Caffeine gets metabolized in the liver, just like medications. So aspirin plus coffee will put a strain on the liver. And if someone is hungover and the liver is still processing alcohol, that's a lot of work for one liver to do. So aspirin and caffeine is not a combination that you want to take everyday. If you're healthy, you can take it once in a while but don't overdo it.

ysmina
Post 1

I'm confused about aspirin and caffeine. I did not know that caffeine increases blood flow. As far as I know, caffeine makes blood vessels shrink and reduces blood flow. This is why caffeine is suggested for migraines, because it reduces blood flow to the brain and reduce the pain that is felt. Caffeine is even included in some migraine medications for this reason.

So I'm doubtful about caffeine making aspiring effective faster.

Post your comments

Post Anonymously

Login

username
password
forgot password?

Register

username
password
confirm
email