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Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2014 Jan;23(1):43-50. doi: 10.1002/pds.3463. Epub 2013 May 30.

Trends in the use of aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the general U.S. population.

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Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, USA.



The objective of this study was to describe trends in the prevalence of regular aspirin and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use among adults in the United States during 2005 and 2010, and to identify characteristics of regular users.


Data from the 2005 and 2010 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) were analyzed to estimate the prevalence of regular use of aspirin and NSAIDs among U.S. adults aged 18 years and older. Results were stratified by demographics and self-reported medical conditions and extrapolated to provide U.S. population estimates.


In 2010, around 43 million adults (19.0%) took aspirin at least three times per week for more than 3 months (i.e. regular users), and more than 29 million adults (12.1%) were regular users of NSAIDs. Compared with 2005, this was an overall increase of 57% in aspirin use and 41% in NSAID use. These increases were consistent across the strata of age, sex, race, and selected medical conditions, including cardiovascular disease (CVD), arthritis, peptic ulcers, cancer, and severe headache, except for Asian Americans.


Large increases in the use of both aspirin and NSAIDs were observed over a 5 year period. The increase may be the result of increasing media attention reporting that regular aspirin use lowers the risk of CVD and related deaths, and may also prevent cancer. Moreover, safety concerns related to alternative medications such as acetaminophen and selective COX-2 inhibitors may influence users of these drugs to switch to aspirin and NSAIDs.


NHIS; NSAIDs; aspirin; pharmacoepidemiology; prevalence

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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