Is Aspirin Vegan?
Updated: Aug 18
The search for aspirin products without animal-derived ingredients can be long and arduous. Scanning label after label just to be stopped by "magnesium stearate" or "shellac." You can develop a headache just in the process of finding a suitable pain reliever!
"Do vegan pain relievers exist?"
Our team of pharmacists have scoured through thousands of products to find a handful that do not contain animal ingredients. Earlier this year, we found animal-free ibuprofen and animal-free acetaminophen. We are stoked to be able to add animal-free aspirin to the list!
Bayer introduced modern aspirin in 1899. However, the base ingredient, salicylic acid derived from willow bark, has been used for centuries. The ancient Egyptians to the ancient Greeks used willow leaves and bark to relieve minor aches and pains. Willow bark faded into obscurity for a time, but in the 18th century, a clergyman named Edward Stone rediscovered the pain-relieving properties of willow bark. Salicylic acid was isolated as the active ingredient by Hermann Kolbe in 1874 and administered to his patients in large doses. His patients experienced severe side effects, from vomiting and nausea to comas. It was later discovered that the high-acidity of salicylic acid causes hemorrhaging in the stomach wall.
When Bayer developed aspirin they modified salicylic acid to create acetylsalicylic acid (ASA). The side effects from this new compound were less severe than the original salicylic acid. As aspirin is digested, the acetylsalicylic acid breaks down into salicylic acid, which is then absorbed into the bloodstream. Buffers added to the medicine help regulate the acidity of salicylic acid, reducing side effects, notably GI bleeds.
According to WebMD, aspirin is used to "reduce fever and relieve mild to moderate pain from conditions such as muscle aches, toothaches, common cold, and headaches. It may also be used to reduce pain and swelling in conditions such as arthritis." Since 1899, longer-acting and better-tolerated over-the-counter medications such as Advil (ibuprofen, Nurofen, Motrin), Tylenol (acetaminophen, paracetamol), and Aleve (naproxen) were developed, reducing the demand for aspirin. Today, aspirin is primarily used for its anti-platelet properties to prevent recurring heart attacks and strokes.
VeganMed has identified two Bayer aspirin products that are free of animal ingredients!
Bayer Aspirin 325mg Coated Tablets
This higher strength aspirin product is intended to relieve minor aches and pains. The coated tablets decrease stomach irritation.
Ingredients: Aspirin 325mg, corn starch, hypromellose, powdered cellulose, triacetin
Bayer Low Dose Aspirin
Choose your favorite flavor with this easy-to-take, low-dose aspirin: Orange and Cherry! These tablets contain a quarter of the dose of regular strength aspirin, the most common dose for heart attack prevention.
Ingredients: Aspirin 81 mg, Colloidal Silicon Dioxide, Corn Starch, D&C Red #27 Aluminum Lake, Dextrose, FD&C Red #40 Aluminum Lake, Flavor, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Saccharin Sodium.
Disclaimer: The product and/or medical information provided on VeganMed is of a general nature and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or product.
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If you have any further questions about ingredients in your medicines and supplements, feel free to reach out to the VeganMed team!