Aspirin, caffeine (Phensic)

How does it work?

Phensic tablets contain two active ingredients, aspirin and caffeine.

Aspirin belongs to a group of medicines called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). It works by blocking the action of a substance in the body called cyclo-oxygenase.

Cyclo-oxygenase is involved in the production of various chemicals in the body, some of which are known as prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are produced in response to injury or certain diseases and cause pain, swelling and inflammation. By blocking the action of cyclo-oxygenase, aspirin reduces the production of prostaglandins and can therefore be used to relieve pain and inflammation.

Caffeine is a weak stimulant that is often included in painkilling preparations in small doses. It is claimed that the addition of caffeine may enhance the pain relieving effects of aspirin.

What is it used for?

  • Relieving mild to moderate pain, eg headache, migraine, nerve pain (neuralgia), period pain, toothache, sore throat.
  • Relieving pain and inflammation in sprains and strains, rheumatic pain, sciatica, backache, fibrositis, muscular aches and pains, joint swelling and stiffness.
  • Relieving aches, pains and fever associated with colds and flu.

Warning!

  • Children under 16 years of age should not take aspirin, unless on the advice of a doctor. This is because aspirin use in children has been associated with a rare condition called Reye's syndrome. This condition affects the brain and liver and though extremely rare, can be fatal. The causes of Reye's syndrome are not fully understood, but use of aspirin to treat fever in children with a virus has been implicated. There are many paracetamol and ibuprofen products not associated with Reye's syndrome that are available to treat pain and fever in this age group. For more advice talk to your pharmacist.
  • Aspirin can sometimes irritate the stomach. This can be minimised by taking the medicine with or after food.
  • Do not exceed the recommended dose of this medicine, which will be stated in the product packaging or information leaflet supplied with the medicine.
  • If symptoms persist despite treatment, seek medical advice from your doctor or pharmacist.

Use with caution in

  • Elderly people
  • Decreased kidney function
  • Decreased liver function
  • Dehydration
  • Asthma
  • History of allergies.

Not to be used in

  • Children and adolescents under 16 years of age, unless on the advice of a doctor
  • People in whom aspirin or other NSAIDs, eg ibuprofen, cause allergic reactions such as asthma attacks, itchy rash (urticaria), nasal inflammation (rhinitis) or swelling of the lips, tongue and throat (angioedema)
  • Peptic ulcer or a history of this
  • Bleeding disorders such as haemophilia
  • Gout
  • Third trimester of pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding.

This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.

  • This medicine is not recommended for use during pregnancy, unless considered essential by your doctor. In particular, it should not be taken in the third trimester, as aspirin may delay labour, increase the length of labour, increase the risk of bleeding and cause complications in the newborn baby. Seek medical advice from your doctor if you are pregnant.
  • Significant amounts of this medicine may pass into breast milk. It should not be taken by breastfeeding mothers as it may be harmful to the nursing infant. Seek medical advice from your doctor if you are breastfeeding.

Side effects

Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.

  • Nausea
  • Indigestion (dyspepsia)
  • Stomach or intestinal discomfort
  • Ulceration or bleeding of the stomach or intestines
  • Increased bleeding time
  • Allergic reactions such as skin rash, swelling of the lips, tongue and throat (angioedema) or narrowing of the airways (bronchospasm)

The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the drug's manufacturer.For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.

How can this medicine affect other medicines?

If you are already taking any other medicines, including herbal medicines and those bought without a prescription, you should check with your pharmacist before taking this medicine, to ensure that the combination is safe.

People taking anticoagulant medicines used to prevent the blood clotting, eg warfarin, should not take aspirin to relieve pain, inflammation or fever. This is because aspirin can irritate the stomach lining, as well as increasing the effects of warfarin, both of which increase the likelihood of bleeding.

There may be an increased risk of bleeding if aspirin is taken with 'blood-thinning' (antiplatelet) medicines such as clopidogrel or dipyridamole.

There may also be an increased risk of bleeding if aspirin is taken in combination with venlafaxine, duloxetine, or SSRI antidepressants such as fluoxetine or paroxetine.

There may be an increased risk of bleeding or ulceration of the stomach or intestines if aspirin is taken with corticosteroids, eg prednisolone, dexamethasone.

There may be an increased risk of side effects if aspirin is taken with other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), eg ibuprofen, diclofenac, indometacin. For this reason, this medicine should not be taken with any other NSAID.

Aspirin reduces the rate at which the body can remove the medicine methotrexate. The two should not usually be used together.

There may be an increased risk of side effects if aspirin is taken with acetazolamide.

Other medicines containing the same active ingredients

Anadin original Beechams powders