This post is the second in a series taken from the article by Keith Wassung entitled “Aspirin: Helpful or Hazardous”. This series focuses on Aspirin, it’s side effects, bleeding, heart attacks, and non-Aspirin pain killers. This week’s post provides a look at some of Aspirin’s side effects.

Besides carrying a chemical message, prostaglandins also maintain a protective lining in the stomach. Destruction of prostaglandins by aspirin destroys the stomach lining and inhibits replacement of the mucous lining.

The FDA estimates that NSAID’s, (which includes aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen) account for a reported 200,000 cases of gastrointestinal bleeding, 107,000 hospitalizations and as many as 20,000 deaths each year. 3

Gastric Ulcer
Aspirin side effects

Reye’s syndrome is a deadly disease that strikes quickly and can attack any child or adult without warning. All organs are affected with the liver and the brain suffering the most damage. While the cause and cure remain unknown, epidemiologist research has established a link between Reye’s syndrome and the use of aspirin and products that contain aspirin for flu-like symptoms. The United Kingdom, in 1986 had banned the giving of aspirin products to children under the age of 12, and has recently hardened that advice to include children under the age of 16. Though it is not widely publicized, the Surgeon General, FDA and the CDC recommend that aspirin products not be given to children under the age of 19 during episodes of illness that include fever. 4

An extensive study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported the following:

Regular use of either acetaminophen or aspirin or of both was associated in a dose-dependent manner with an increased risk of chronic kidney failure. The regular use of aspirin was associated with a 2.5 times greater risk of chronic kidney failure than as that for nonusers of aspirin. For those who took 500g or more of aspirin per year (over 4 aspirin tablets every day), the risk was 3.3 times greater than for non-users.5


  1. Bystrianyk, R. Health Sentinel, Oct 30, 2002
  2. MacDonald, S. “Aspirin use to be banned in under 16 year olds” British Medical Journal, Nov.2,2002; 325:998
  3. Fored, C.M. “Acetaminophen, aspirin, and chronic renal failure. New England Journal of
    Medicine. Dec 20, 2001 Vol 345, 1801-1808.