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Dispersible aspirin is aspirin which is dissolved in water before administration. Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) which is used to treat pain and fever. It may also be used at lower doses as prophylaxis for the prevention of stroke and heart attack in susceptible people. Dispersible aspirin is known by different trade names in different countries, according to manufacturer, and is available in most of them as an over-the-counter product.
NSAIDs such as dispersible aspirin treat pain and fever by blocking an enzyme called cyclooxygenase which causes inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis. Prostaglandins are involved in the inflammatory response, pain and fever. By blocking the prostaglandins, aspirin reduces pain, fever and inflammation.
Aspirin also has an antiplatelet action, which is why it is used prophylactically against stroke or heart attack. Platelets are involved in the clotting process and taking regular low dose aspirin reduces the ability of the platelets to stick together and therefore reduces the risk of clotting. Myocardial infarction and stroke may be caused by the clotting of blood in the vessels.
As with any medication, dispersible aspirin should only be taken when clearly indicated and the recommended dosage should never be exceeded. There are a number of clinical conditions in which aspirin is not recommended and it may interact with other medications, including homeopathic or complementary medicines. Any underlying conditions or other medications should be discussed with a health professional before using aspirin, either acutely or chronically.
The dose of dispersible aspirin differs according to what it is being used for. When used long-term for prophylaxis it is given at a low, daily dose. If being given to treat an acute condition, such as pain or fever, the dose is higher and more frequent. It may be taken up to four times a day in the acute setting but the maximum dose should never be exceeded. Aspirin is contraindicated in children unless prescribed by a specialist. All medicines should be locked away, out of reach of children.
As with any medication aspirin may cause unwanted side effects. Hypersensitivity reactions, or allergies, have been reported with aspirin and other NSAIDs. It should not be used in anybody with a history of such allergy. Other adverse reactions may occur. These include gastric irritation, which may be reduced by taking it with or after food. Any adverse effects experienced should be discussed with a medical professional.