Aspirin and NSAIDs

Fall 2013 CSANews Issue 88  |   Posted date : Oct 10, 2013.Back to list

Bird talk - Le Jaseur
Dear Bird Talk,

I am writing with reference to Mr. Dawe's letter regarding Aspirin and NSAIDs in CSA's summer 013 edition. Mr. Dawe states that he "could not find any product that contained ASA" in Florida, and all the Aspirin products that he did find "all contained NSAIDs."

NSAIDs is not an ingredient or a drug added to Aspirin; rather, it is a classification of a large group of drugs, of which Aspirin is one.

NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) decrease pain and inflammation, but a major side-effect is the decreasing of normal clotting factors in the blood.

Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Aspirin and Meloxicam are all NSAIDs, just to name a few. Aspirin (C9H8O4) with the chemical name acetylsalicylic acid (or ASA) was first distributed in pill form in 1900 by the Bayer Company of Germany.

The drug originated from the bark of the white willow tree and was used to relieve pain and reduce fever. One of Aspirin's side-effects is anticoagulation (thinning of the blood) or an anti-platelet agent.

The difficulty encountered by Mr. Dawe appears to be that the American Bayer Company lists Aspirin as its active ingredient…with NSAID in brackets to indicate that the product belongs to that classification of drugs, as is law in the U.S. In Canada, drug companies selling Aspirin list ASA or acetylsalicylic acid as the active ingredient with no reference to NSAIDs
I spoke with the American Bayer Company in Pennsylvania and explained the confusion. I was told that the company would look into the labelling of its Aspirin container and, possibly, add ASA as its active ingredient.

Both American and Canadian low-dose Aspirin products contain 81 mg of ASA (also known as Aspirin), plus many other inactive ingredients which give the pill its composition and enteric coating.

I hope this clarification helps CSA readers understand Mr. Dawe's concern about buying Aspirin in the U.S.

Ultimately, I agree with the editorial note that, to be safe, take Canadian medications in their original containers with you when you travel.

Kathleen Hagerman, RN (Retired)

Response:
We had dozens of comments from members with great information and suggestions. We chose to print this one because Kathleen went directly to the Bayer Company in hopes of eliminating any confusion for our members.

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