Chewable aspirin is best for the heart
Study shows chewable aspirin is absorbed more quickly than solid tablets
15 May, 2009 - Chewable aspirin is absorbed faster and is more effective
than regular aspirin that is either swallowed whole or chewed and then
swallowed, a new study shows.
This ‘seemingly quite simple finding’ could lead to improvements in the care
of heart attack patients, researchers say.
Dr Sean Nordt, of the University of California, (San Diego, USA) and
colleagues, gave three different types of aspirin to 14 people between ages of
20 and 61. One group was given regular solid aspirin tablets and told to
swallow the pills whole. Another was given regular aspirin tablets and told to
chew the pills before swallowing. A third group was given chewable aspirin
tablets, and swallowing occurred during chewing.
The researchers then measured levels of aspirin in the blood; researchers
say the chewable aspirin consistently showed the greatest and fastest
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Society for
Academic Medicine in New Orleans, USA.
Researchers say the study was done because current guidelines recommend
chewing to increase absorption, but evidence that that's best is scant.
Thirteen of the 14 participants were men; the mean age was 31. Over the
course of the study, each participant ingested each form of aspirin; 1,950
milligrams of aspirin (the equivalent of six regular aspirin tablets) was
administered every time.
Measurements of blood showed clearly that aspirin was absorbed fastest when
administered in chewable form and swallowed. ‘This supports the recommendation
to use chewable [aspirin] formulation in the treatment of ACS’, the researchers
say. ACS refers to ‘acute coronary syndrome’, the general medical term meaning
heart attack or sudden onset of angina.
Current guidelines call for giving heart attack patients one aspirin tablet
and for them to chew it to speed up its anti-blood-clotting
Aspirin works within 15 minutes to prevent the formation of blood clots in
people with known coronary artery disease. One adult-strength aspirin contains
300 milligrams. The current study suggests that chewable aspirin would be
preferred in the setting of a heart attack or sudden onset of angina (chest
pain). However, aspirin should still be taken under these circumstances if the
chewable form is unavailable.
Aspirin use in patients with heart disease is common. People with known
coronary disease often are told by their doctor to take a low dose aspirin (75
milligrams) daily to reduce their risk of heart attack or stroke.