Paracetamol side effects: Does paracetamol cause blot clots? Can aspirin?

Coronavirus: Paracetamol 'superior' to ibuprofen says expert

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Blood clotting associated with the AstraZeneca vaccine prompted several countries to briefly opt-out of delivering doses to their local populations. While the link is tenuous and with tens of cases amongst the millions vaccinated, health agencies have opted to wait for additional data before they proceed. However, vaccines aren’t the only medical products that have clotting listed as a potential side effect, and others can help prevent them.

Does paracetamol cause blood clots?

Paracetamol is one of the most common items people store in their medicine cabinet.

They are vital for staving off nasty hangovers and they help to reduce the pain of most illnesses.

Many people may be unaware of the many potential side effects the drug has, but blood clots are not one of them.

Side effects of paracetamol are uncommon but could include:

  • Low fever
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-coloured stool
  • Yellowing skin or eyes (jaundice)

Any of these symptoms should warrant a call with a doctor.

People who experience an allergic reaction, which includes swelling around the lips, tongue, throat or face, should get emergency help.

While paracetamol does not cause blood clots, other household or prescription medications can help prevent them.

Aspirin, in a low enough dose, can help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

The medication helps make blood less sticky and likely to clot, reducing the chances of clot-related illness.

People should only take regular low-dose aspirin if their doctor recommends it.

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Aspirin also comes with several side effects, which include:

  • Gastrointestinal ulceration
  • Bleeding
  • Rashes
  • Heartburn
  • Abdominal pain
  • An upset stomach
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Cramping
  • Gastritis

Dr Erin Donnelly Michos, Director of Women’s Cardiovascular Health, and Associate Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University, said she would only recommend aspirin for some of her patients.

She said: “I still recommend aspirin for those with known heart disease or stroke, or for select individuals who might be at particularly high risk due to evidence of significant plaque in their arteries, if they are not at high bleeding risk.

“But for the rest of my patients at lower or intermediate risk, it seems that the risks of aspirin outweigh the benefits.

“Particularly for elderly patients, if they don’t have known heart disease, I would think carefully about using it.”

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