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What should I know before beginning treatment with low-dose aspirin?

Before beginning treatment with low-dose aspirin, you should know that low-dose aspirin has been shown to be effective in lowering the risk of heart attacks and certain types of strokes in people at high risk for these events. It may also lower the risk of colon cancer slightly. However, even low-dose aspirin is not without side effects and risks. The biggest risk is that of bleeding more easily and for a longer time. While this is not usually a problem, it can lead to serious gastroentestinal bleeding and/or hemorrhagic (bleeding) strokes, both of which can be very debilitating or deadly. Therefore, the decision to start taking aspirin should be made with a healthcare provider.

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

If you have a bleeding or blood platelet disorder, you should not take aspirin.

If you have impaired kidney function or liver disease, aspirin may not be a good option for you.

Aspirin may cause gastrointestinal bleeding or make it worse.

You should not take aspirin during the last trimester of pregnancy. It is also not known if it is safe for pregnant women during the first two trimesters.

If you are breastfeeding, be aware that aspirin is passed into breast milk and may not be a good option for you.

People taking aspirin should not receive chickenpox vaccine. 

This answer was adapted from Sharecare's award-winning AskMD app. Start a consultation now to find out what's causing your symptoms, learn how to manage a condition, or find a doctor. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.