Primary Care Physician
Dr. Orrange received her BA in Biology at the University of California, San Diego, and a Masters Degree in Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. She received her MD from the USC Keck School of…
The Awesome Power of Aspirin
Posted in Acne by Dr. Sharon Orrange on Jun 16, 2008

Aspirin has well known uses for fever, pain and arthritis. What you may not know is that for a medication that costs pennies a day aspirin given at the onset of chest pain has one of the greatest impacts on reduction of death from heart attack than any other intervention. If that's not impressive enough, in a patient suspected of having an acute stroke a 325 mg aspirin given within 48 hours can improve the outcome.

Who should be taking an aspirin a day and what are the real benefits? For two of the top causes of death in the United States, stroke and heart disease, aspirin plays an important role in prevention but carries some risks of bleeding.

Should healthy people take an aspirin a day? The answer is not necessarily. Men and women with 2 cardiac risk factors or more (male sex, family history of early heart disease, high blood pressure, type II Diabetes and smoking) should consider a daily 81 mg aspirin to significantly reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. For people with a history of heart attack, stroke or mini-stroke (TIA) the reduction in risk of death and future events is even more impressive.

Is aspirin only good for prevention of cardiovascular disease? There is a compelling body of evidence for aspirin decreasing the risk of colon cancer but it requires taking high doses for long periods of time (10-20 years) to see any benefit. Overall, the harms outweigh the benefits of aspirin for prevention of colon cancer so it's not recommended in adults at average risk (including those with family history) and no symptoms.

What is the story with aspirin and miscarriage? There is a roll for aspirin use for some complications encountered during pregnancy. In pregnant women with the anti-phospholipid antibody syndrome low dose aspirin has been associated with successful pregnancy outcomes in some studies. There is also an unlabeled use for pre-eclampsia prevention with 60-80 mg a day during gestational weeks 13-26 for women at high risk

It is true that aspirin is good for the skin? Topical preparations of aspirin (salicylic acid) are effective in the treatment of acne, dandruff, warts, psoriasis and eczema, among other things. It works by loosening up dry skin making it easier to remove so other preparations are more effective.

There are many other touted uses for aspirin including removing stains, getting the green out of swimmers hair and easing bug bites, but there isn't much evidence that it works any better than other standard therapies. Ok ok, so it might not work for everything!

Dr O.

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CONDITIONS AND COMMUNITIES: Acne  •  Angina  •  Arrhythmias  •  Arteriosclerosis  •  Arthritis  •  Atrial Fibrillation (AFib)  •  Caregivers  •  Chronic Pain  •  Congenital Heart Disease  •  Coronary Heart Disease  •  Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)  •  Degenerative Disc Disease  •  Degenerative Joint Disease  •  Diabetes Type 2  •  Gout  •  Heart Attack  •  Heart Failure  •  High Blood Pressure  •  High Cholesterol  •  Migraine Headaches  •  Obesity  •  Stroke

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Displaying comments 15-1 of 15
I have been taking asprin for -years- every day after having had seven DVTs. I started taking them once I was off my coumidin and it was out of my system. I haven't had another DVT since. It's probably been twenty years.
Due to a family history of congestive heart failure and my own evelated homoscytine levels I'm curious as to what if any affect the aspirin I'm taking may have on them.

Thank you
By seraphina  Aug 19, 2008
I take Lasanprazole for reflux, I also started taking aspirin a while ago after suffering with irregular heartbeat which my doctor put down to stress and put me on anti-depressants for. I was only supposed to take them for three months, then six months, they didn't help at all and after trying one or two health supplements which didn't work either, I decided to try Aspirin, Hey presto! no more irregular heartbeats. I didn't tell my doctor until I was sure Aspirin was working as she would have put me back on the anti depressants. I am not depressed.
By poshpaws  Jul 19, 2008
Hello Dr O
i personally surgest that people speak w thier MD befor takeing asprin & befor starting an asprin thyp. I would recommend 1/2 tablet daily instead of whole tablet to safe guard our liver and stomack lineing and from possiblity of becomeing free bleeder.

Thank you for info.
By Admiral  Jul 14, 2008
What about those prone to ulcers and other digestive problems? Is there a product that is safe on the stomach that has the same benefits as aspirin?
By Cody39  Jun 25, 2008
Wow from heart attack/strokes to laundry impressive!
By EllynHopes  Jun 19, 2008
Salicylic acid is the topical preparation of aspirin. It comes in MANY over the counter formulations (compound W, Callous removers, etc) but you would want to ask your doc or find out about which topical preparation of salicylic acid to use for psoriasis...many of the scalp and skin treatments are salicylic acid..or "topical aspirin" preparations.
Camaim: Vicodin is tylenol and does not have aspirin in it so if you fall in one of the above categories where aspirin is indicated it may help
Dr O.
By DrOrrange  Jun 19, 2008
Dear Dr. O,
I've been using Aspirin for years, up until the Vicodin was prescribed and swore it worked better than the others(tylenol, motrin, etc). Seems most of the Dr's wanted me to take other things because of the stomach irritation. Think it would work better for the Arthritis, but my pharmacopic knowledge tells me that I should never take Hydrocodone and Aspirin this correct? As I'd take half a Vicodin and an aspirin instead of just the Vicodin
By camiam  Jun 18, 2008
Hi, Dr. O~~I would like to know how to topically apply aspirin for my psoriasis. I also have a hiatal hernia and GERD and was told NOT to take a baby aspirin EVERY day. I would like to know how often I can take the baby aspirin with my conditions. I have high cholesterol and am pre-diabetic. I will be 61 years old in Aug.

Thanks so much for your help

By flmombs  Jun 18, 2008
naturally cured: thats the whole point of this. Aspirin carries risk of GI bleed so should also be used in the above mentioned people NOT all comers.
Dr O.
By DrOrrange  Jun 17, 2008
i hate to play 'devils advocate' but i disagree... as someone with crohn's disease i have been told on numerous occasions that aspirin can agitate the gastro system. here's a little info to support what i'm saying:

i feel that changing your lifestyle (diet, exercise, lowering stress) is a much much better way to prevent heart disease...
google the 'dangers of aspirin' and you'll see what i mean.

click on the above link and you'll see that asprin kills thousands of people every year.

medications of any kind are poison. unless u need them, in m opinion, don't take them.
Thanks Dr. O
This is a good reminder. Not pushing a brand, but my opinion Bayer really melts fast. Both coated and non-coated aspirin. What about alka seltzer, it contains aspirin?
By reenee  Jun 17, 2008
Been taking 100mg coated asprin a day for over one year, noticed health improvements in a short period. Wow, wondered where my Dandruf went, had it all my life. Thanks Doc, that was bugging me. Anti-dandruf shampoo is expensive. Learn so much at DS.
By Rigil13  Jun 17, 2008
tcoburn: 81 mg a day of an enteric coated aspirin (ECASA) will help you out.
Dr O.
By DrOrrange  Jun 17, 2008
Wow, makes me want to buy some low dosage aspirin now. what dosage do you recommend? I've had bad acne problems over the years, tends to come and go often. I found Acidophilus to help a great deal with acne, and my digestive problems related to Crohns Disease, but I never thought about aspirin cool,
By tcoburn  Jun 16, 2008
"Bravo Doc",I like this article.Aspirin helped save my dad one time from a heart attack,but Asprin couldn't save him from lung cancer.
I take a aspirin once a day,actually it is a baby asprin.
By poohscorner  Jun 16, 2008
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