Aspirin for peripheral arterial disease


Generic Name Brand Name
aspirin Anacin, Bayer, Bufferin

Brand-name aspirin is no more effective than generic or store brands.

How It Works

Aspirin helps prevent the formation of blood clots. This can decrease the chance that a blood clot will form and block an already-narrowed artery.

Why It Is Used

Aspirin may be given to people who have peripheral arterial disease (PAD) or risk factors for peripheral arterial disease. It may also be used after bypass surgery or angioplasty to prevent the formation of blood clots after these procedures.

How Well It Works

Research results vary on the effects of aspirin for PAD, but it may lower the risk for heart attack and stroke1.

Side Effects

Side effects of aspirin include:

  • Inflammation of the stomach (gastritis).
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding.
  • An allergic reaction.
  • In rare cases, bruising and bleeding (hemorrhage) in the brain or other internal organs of the body.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Aspirin may be combined with other antiplatelet or anticoagulant medicines.

Some doctors are concerned that long-term daily aspirin use can increase the risk of stomach problems. A smaller dose, such as a single low-dose aspirin, is often used and appears to be just as effective as a higher dose. Consult your doctor before you start taking aspirin on a regular basis.

Because of aspirin's effect on blood clotting, your doctor may want you to stop your aspirin at least 5 to 10 days before surgery and before any dental procedure that may cause excessive bleeding.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.



  1. Berger JS, et al. (2009). Aspirin for the prevention of cardiovascular events in patients with peripheral artery disease: A meta-analysis of randomized trials. JAMA, 301(18): 1909–1919.

Last Updated: October 16, 2009

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