To guide hospital treatment if aspirin overdosage is suspected.
Aspirin therapy of chronic inflammatory conditions is rarely used now.
Usually in hospital after an overdose.
A blood sample drawn from a vein usually in an arm
The plasma concentration of salicylic acid (the active part of aspirin) is being measured as this produces the undesirable side effects, notably damage to the stomach, including ulcers and bleeding, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
Normally from a vein in the arm by use of a needle and syringe.
The plasma salicyate concentration is used to assess aspirin dosage and, if overdosage is diagnosed, to guide hospital treatment of aspirin poisoning.
Either to monitor dosage during long-term aspirin treatment, or to help diagnose overdosage.
After overdosage the result has to be interpreted by the hospital doctor who takes into account other factors such as the time the overdose was taken and whether other drugs are present.
Aspirin is used in adults to bring down a fever or as an analgesic (pain remover) for a toothache or head ache . For these purposes the dose is 300 – 600 mg/day. The dose may be repeated after 4 hours and the maximum dose should not exceed 4 g/24 hours.
Aspirin is usually not used to treat chronic pain today.
Low dose aspirin, 75 – 150 mg/ day is given to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Aspirin should not be taken long-term without consulting your doctor. It is not monitored at this low dose.
Aspirin should NEVER be given to children under 12 years of age unless directed by a doctor. Aspirin should not be taken with alcoholic drinks as this increases the risk of bleeding from the stomach. If aspirin overdosage is suspected you should seek medical help. Ibuprofen (Neurofen) or paracetamol (Panadol) are safer treatments than aspirin for short-term problems such as headache.
Regular asprin consumption should only be adopted under the supervision of your doctor. Low-dose aspirin (50 milligrams or so per day), used to reduce the risk of heart attack is generally safe.
Apart from the Related Tests noted above, there are no other related pages on this site.
RCPA Manual: Salicylate
Patient UK: Salicylate poisoning
Last Review Date: October 27, 2011