Aspirin... Did You Know?

Updated on February 27, 2012
R.B. asks from Decorah, IA
10 answers

My Grandpa has had a cold for a couple of weeks now. He has gone to the Dr twice because it was hard to breathe just to rule out phenomena. The Dr's recommended him taking Mucinex 2x a day and told him he can use vick vapor rub as needed.

On Friday he started acting out of character. He was really confused ( more than usual with his alzheimer's) he was very short and snapping at everyone and angry ( he isn't to that point with his alzheimer's yet, thankfully). He was nauseous. He was sweating really bad saying he had a bad headache. He had a pain in his chest. Mom called the ER and they said to bring him right away. After many test to rule out heart attack and stroke.

It turns out he was over dosing on aspirin when the blood tests came back. They went through everything he has been taking and with the aspirin he takes daily, the mucinex and the vicks vapor rub it was putting too much aspirin in his system. Up until now we didn't know that mucinex and vicks vapor rub both have low doses of aspirin in them! Did you know that? That's scary that they don't say that on the package!

I can't take aspirin do to being allergic to it. Even if its in low doses in it... they should have to add that to its ingredients. Its really scary that his primary dr didn't even mention it when he was there on Tuesday and told him he could take the mucinex and use the vicks.. and even recommended them knowing he takes an aspirin daily.

I just wanted to let others know about aspirin being in these two products and don't list it so this doesn't happen to anyone else!

Has anyone else found out that there is ingredients in products that isn't listed?

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So What Happened?

The physican at the hospital who seen my grandpa is the one that told my mom this info. He said if an ingredient is low enough they don't have to list it. But in my grandpa's case even though the dose in these are low and normally don't affect most people, combined with the 3 things he was taking all containing aspirin and taking over time ( in his case 4 days) it builds up in your system. He told mom that its rare to see this but this is not the first time he has seen it and it has been in the elderly.

Featured Answers


answers from Norfolk on

It might be that aspirin was not in the Mucinex or Vick's but they affected his absorption of the aspirin he was already taking.
I tend to do better on aspirin than Tylenol (it adversely affects my liver).
It's important to consider drug interaction even with over the counter medications and supplements.

4 moms found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

I remember a news piece highlighting this with acetaminophen and various cold prodcuts. While I didn't know this about aspirin, i guess you'd have to look for is drug name, acetylsalicylic acid, in the ingredients. If not listed on the bottle, should be listed on the website.
Any active or non-active ingredient is supposed to be listed. . .
I think this serves as a great reminder that just because we assume a drug is "safe" it is still a drug.
Glad your g-pa is ok!!

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answers from Jacksonville on

I pulled up a list of products that contain acetylsalicylic acid and Mucinex is not listed in the oral medications list. As for the topical medications, Vicks is not listed, but these are:
Analgesic Balm
Arthrocare Lotion
Ben Gay
Compound W
Deep-Down Pain Relief
Icy Hot
Mentholatum Deep Heat
Whitfield’s Ointment

Could your g-pa have been using a Vick's LIKE ointment, like Mentholatum? They are similar and he may have used the name Vick's like a person says "Qtip" when really they just mean a "cotton swab" or something...

Or g-pa may be taking more aspirin than he thinks he has. You said he has alzheimer's, correct? Is someone helping him with his dosages and meds to monitor exactly what he is consuming? If not, sounds like it would be a good idea...

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answers from Phoenix on

Pepto Bismo contains something related to asprin. sometimes it isnt asprin, but a relative of it. I am allergic to asprin and cannot take naproxen (aleve) due to my allergy

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answers from St. Louis on

Thank you. I had no idea. People put vicks on babies and if it has aspirin in it could it cause Rhyes (sp) syndrome? I know a family that lost a toddler to baby aspirin.

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answers from Dallas on

glad he's well, but if i were you, i'd look into pursuing a different diagnosis to explain his symptoms... if his clotting factors were really low, maybe he's confused and taking too many aspirins, does he take other meds for clotting? who told you there is aspirin in those two products? there's not... if you don't believe me, contact the manufacturers as well as a pharmacist that you trust, i actually would strongly suggest that you make those contacts asap so you can pursue a proper diagnosis for your grandfather.

edited just to be clear - a manufacturer would have NOTHING to gain and EVERYTHING to lose by not disclosing this information.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

I googled this and there is nothing on any website that shows aspirin as any ingredient in Musinex or vaporub. The camphor and menthol in the Vicks is the pain reliever.

This is terrible. I take Musinex and I have been in the hospital a couple of times for Aspirin related breathing issues. I stopped breathing once when I had surgery and they gave me aspirin for pain. I also can't take Lortab or Motrin.

How odd that I have never had a reaction to either of these products. I am going to ask my pharmacist for sure.

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answers from Seattle on

I find this odd and will need to confirm this with my pharmacist, because I am deathly allergic to aspirin and I take mucinex without a problem.. Thanks for sharing though, and I'm glad your grandpa is ok.

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answers from Detroit on

I am currently on a low dose of a blood thinner during my pregnancy due to a clotting factor disorder. My dr. gave a whole list of things I can't take, because Aspirin is not allowed. I would fax it to you if you have a machine. Otherwise, I'm sure you could find a similar list online. She said you wouldn't believe all the things, like Pepto Bismal.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Alka seltzer also has aspirin. I was going to give it to my son and just happened to look at the box first. I had no clue. He cannot take aspirin or ibuprofen at all unless he has a dose of his medication first due to the way it acts with his blood. It prevents clotting.

1 mom found this helpful
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