Drug Products Containing Acetylsalicylic Acid (Aspirin)

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Which drug products contain acetylsalicylic acid, otherwise known as aspirin or ASA? If you are experiencing low platelet counts as a result of your leukemia or lymphoma, or as a result of other treatments, your health care provider will likely recommend that you avoid acetylsalicylic acid (also known as ASA or aspirin) to prevent complications.

What Is Aspirin (Acetylsalicylic Acid or ASA)?

Aspirin is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), which means that it works to decrease inflammation, but is not a steroid. There are other medications that are considered NSAIDs, though these work in a slightly different way from aspirin. The use of aspirin in history goes back to the early 1800s, when a compound in willow bark, termed salicin, was found to reduce pain.

Uses

Aspirin may be used for conditions that range from minor aches and pains to arthritis and the prevention of heart attacks and strokes. Unfortunately, due to its effectiveness with fevers and minor aches and pains, it is a component of a very wide array of over-the-counter pain relievers, cold preparations, and more.

How It Works

Aspirin works in a few ways. It can help to prevent clot formation (such as in heart attacks and strokes) by inhibiting platelet function. Platelets are the particles in the blood that cause a clot to form when you get a cut. It does this through inhibiting something called cyclooxygenase (COX) activity, which in turn inhibits compounds known as prostaglandins.

Prostaglandins are also responsible for fevers and pain. So by inhibiting cyclooxygenase, ASA may reduce not only clot formation but also fever and pain.

Why Aspirin Can Sometimes Be Dangerous

Aspirin can be dangerous medically in two primary ways. It can directly cause problems or interact with medical treatments, or it can accentuate problems caused by other drugs or medical treatments that work in the same way.

Use With Leukemia or Lymphoma

There are a few reasons why aspirin may not be a wise choice during treatment for leukemia and lymphomas. Many of the treatments for blood cancers reduce the number or effectiveness of platelets. Aspirin use could augment this problem. In addition, treatments for leukemias and lymphomas may result in a low red blood cell count. An increased risk of bleeding due to platelet dysfunction could further this problem. For these reasons, talk with your doctor or nurse before taking aspirin or NSAIDs while undergoing treatment.

Use Before Surgery

Sometimes, surgical interventions are a part of the management of cancer or other illnesses. It is common that your health care team will ask you to stop medications that contain aspirin seven days before your surgery (or as directed by your doctor). If you take aspirin because you’ve had a problem with your heart or because you’ve had a stroke, you should be sure to talk with your doctor specifically about this part of your medical history before you stop taking it.

List of Medications That Contain Acetylsalicylic Acid (ASA) or Aspirin

Here is a list of some medications that contain ASA or related chemicals. This is not an all-inclusive list. Before starting any new medications, or if you are unsure, be sure to ask your health care provider or pharmacist.

  • Acetylsalicylic acid
  • Acuprin
  • Aggrenox
  • Alka-Seltzer products (Regular, Extra Strength, Plus Flu, PM)
  • Alor
  • Anacin products (Regular, Advanced Headache Formula, With Codeine)
  • Asacol tablets
  • Ascriptin tablets
  • Aspergum tablets
  • Aspircaf tablets
  • Aspirin tablets, coated and uncoated
  • Aspirin Plus Stomach Guard tablets
  • Aspir-Mox tablets
  • Aspirtab tablets
  • Aspir-trin tablets
  • Axotal
  • Azdone
  • Bayer Aspirin products (Regular, Plus Calcium, PM, Back and Body Pain, Children's chewable)
  • BC Headache tablets
  • Bufferin tablets
  • Buffex
  • Damason-P tablets
  • Darvon-N with ASA capsules
  • Darvon Compound capsules
  • Easprin tablets
  • Ecotrin tablets
  • Emagrin tablets
  • Empirin tablets
  • Endodan tablets
  • Entaprin tablets
  • Entercote tablets
  • Equagesic tablets
  • Excedrin products (Regular, Back and Body)
  • Fasprin tablets
  • Genacote
  • Gennin-FC
  • Genprin
  • Goody’s Body Pain
  • Halfprin tablets
  • Levacet
  • Lortab ASA
  • Magnaprin
  • Micrainin
  • Miniprin
  • Minitabs
  • Momentum
  • Norgesic tablets
  • Orphengesic
  • Oxycodan
  • Panasal
  • Percodan tablets
  • Percodan Demi tablets
  • Propoxyphene Compound
  • Ridiprin
  • Robaxisal products
  • Roxiprin
  • Salofalk tablets and enema
  • Sloprin
  • Soma Compound
  • Soma Compound with caffeine
  • Supac
  • Synalgos-DC
  • Uni-Buff tablets
  • Uni-Tren tablets
  • Valomag
  • Vanquish
  • Zorprin tablets

A Word From Verywell

Since so many drug preparations contain aspirin, and since they may be labeled with a number of different names, it's important to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication. This is important for other reasons as well. Some drugs that appear relatively safe may in actuality be unsafe or otherwise cause problems for people going through cancer treatment. Keep in mind that this doesn't apply just to medications. Some vitamin and mineral preparations may decrease the effectiveness of cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, even though they may be very safe for someone who is not being treated for cancer.

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Article Sources
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  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Aspirin: Questions and Answers. Updated December 18, 2015.

  2. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Blood Transfusion.

  3. American Family Physician. Perioperative Cardiovascular Medication Management in Noncardiac Surgery: Common Questions. Published May 15, 2017.

  4. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Common Medications Containing Aspirin and Other Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs). Updated April 15, 2019.