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Single dose oral aspirin for acute postoperative pain in adults

Derry S, Moore RA
Published Online: 
18 April 2012

Aspirin is commonly used throughout the world as an over the counter (OTC) analgesic medication used to treat various painful conditions and to reduce fever. This review assessed both the pain-relieving effectiveness and the adverse effects of a single dose of aspirin in acute postoperative pain of moderate to severe intensity. We included 67 studies, with 3111 participants given aspirin in comparisons with 2632 given placebo. Most of the information was for a 600 mg or 650 mg dose. The results confirm that in patients with moderate to severe postoperative pain, about 40% of those treated with aspirin 600/650 mg will experience good levels of pain relief, compared with about 15% treated with placebo. This level of pain relief is comparable to that experienced with the same dose of paracetamol. In these single dose studies there was no significant difference between aspirin 600/650 mg and placebo for the number of participants experiencing adverse events, but at 900/1000 mg, twice as many did so, with dizziness, drowsiness, gastric irritation, nausea, and vomiting being the most common events reported.