What does buffered Aspirin mean? 

What does buffered Aspirin mean? 

Buffered Aspirin is an Aspirin that contains a buffer, to help neutralise the acidity of the drug. Aspirin is acetylsalicylic acid, which is well known for causing gastrointestinal side effects. 

Buffer is a compound that neutralizes the acidity of acid and alkalinity of an alkaline. It basically tries to bring the pH closer to neutral. 

How does buffered Aspirin work?

Buffered aspirin works by combining aspirin with an antacid such as magnesium oxide, calcium carbonate, or aluminium hydroxide. 

As I stated earlier, these antacids are alkaline in nature and help to neutralize the acid in the stomach, reducing the risk of gastrointestinal side effects and the risk of GI bleeding, which is one of the biggest risks associated with Aspirin(1)

When buffered aspirin is ingested, the antacid component helps to prevent the Aspirin from dissolving in the stomach. Instead, the buffered aspirin travels to the small intestine, where it is absorbed into the bloodstream. 

Once in the bloodstream, the aspirin component works to reduce inflammation, pain, and fever by blocking the production of prostaglandins, which are chemicals that cause inflammation.

Buffered aspirin has a slower onset of action compared to regular aspirin due to the presence of the antacid component. However, it may provide longer-lasting pain relief and a lower risk of gastrointestinal side effects. 

How is buffered Aspirin different from enteric-coated Aspirin? 

The main difference between buffered Aspirin and enteric-coated Aspirin is the way in which they are formulated to reduce the risk of gastrointestinal side effects. Enteric-coated Aspirin is coated with an enteric material that does not dissolve in an acidic medium – your stomach. 

This is designed to prevent the gastrointestinal side effects of Aspirin and the tablet starts to uncoat once it reaches the basic medium – your intestines. 

This way, the active drug never gets in contact with the protective lining around your stomach. Buffered Aspirin is combined with an antacid component, which helps to neutralize the acid in the stomach, preventing the aspirin from dissolving in the stomach and reducing the risk of stomach irritation.

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Dammann HG, Saleki M, Torz M, Schulz HU, Krupp S, Schürer M, Timm J, Gessner U. Effects of buffered and plain acetylsalicylic acid formulations with and without ascorbic acid on gastric mucosa in healthy subjects. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2004 Feb 1;19(3):367-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2036.2004.01742.x. PMID: 14984384. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14984384/