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Aspirin for Peripheral Arterial Disease

Examples

Generic Name Brand Name
aspirin Bayer, Bufferin , Ecotrin

How It Works

Aspirin helps prevent the formation of blood clots. This can decrease the chance that a blood clot will form and block an already-narrowed artery.

Brand-name aspirin is no more effective than generic or store brands.

Why It Is Used

Aspirin may be given to people who have peripheral arterial disease (PAD). It may also be used after bypass surgery or angioplasty to prevent the formation of blood clots after these procedures.

How Well It Works

Aspirin may lower the risk for heart attack and stroke in people who have peripheral arterial disease.1

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Allergic reaction

Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:

Call your doctor if you have:

Bleeding

Call 911 or other emergency services right away if you have:

  • A sudden, severe headache that is different from past headaches. (It may be a sign of bleeding in the brain.)

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if you have:

  • Any abnormal bleeding, such as:

Common side effects of this medicine include:

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Talk to your doctor before you start taking aspirin every day.

For more information about taking daily aspirin, see the topic Low-Dose Aspirin Therapy.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or trying to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.

Checkups

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments. And call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

Citations

  1. Berger JS, et al. (2009). Aspirin for the prevention of cardiovascular events in patients with peripheral artery disease: A meta-analysis of randomized trials. JAMA, 301(18): 1909–1919.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology
Specialist Medical Reviewer David A. Szalay, MD - Vascular Surgery
Current as of March 12, 2014

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 12, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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