Introduction: The treatment of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) includes the administration of aspirin. Current guidelines recommend chewing aspirin tablets to increase absorption. While this is intuitive, there are scant data supporting this recommendation. The purpose of this study is to assess which of 3 different aspirin formulations is most rapidly absorbed after ingestion.
Methods: A prospective, open-label, 3-way crossover volunteer study at a tertiary university medical center with human subjects 18 years or older. Fasted subjects were randomly assigned to receive aspirin 1,950 mg as (1) solid aspirin tablets swallowed whole, (2) solid aspirin tablet chewed then swallowed, or (3) a chewable aspirin formulation chewed and swallowed. Serum salicylate measurements were obtained over a period of 180 minutes. Pharmacokinetic parameters were determined.
Results: Thirteen males and 1 female completed all 3 arms of study. Peak serum salicylate concentrations were seen at 180 minutes in all groups. Mean peaks were 10.4, 11.3, and 12.2 mg/dL in groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively. Mean area under the time concentration was 1,153, 1,401, and 1,743 mg-min/dL in groups 1, 2, and 3, respectively. No measurable salicylate concentrations were seen in 6 subjects in group 1 at 60 minutes as compared to 1 subject in group 2. All subjects in group 3 had measurable levels at 45 minutes. There were no adverse effects in any of the subjects during the study period.
Conclusion: Our data demonstrate that the chewable aspirin formulation achieved the most rapid rate of absorption. In addition, the chewable formulation absorption was more complete than the other formulations at 180 minutes. These data suggest that in the treatment of ACS, a chewable aspirin formulation may be preferable to solid tablet aspirin, either chewed or swallowed. [West J Emerg Med. 2011;12(4):381–385.]