Did Aspirin Ever Require a Prescription?

Aspirin, or acetylsalicylic acid, was first developed into a commercial form as a powder in the late 19th century. For many years, the use of aspirin in any form required obtaining a prescription from a licensed physician. Beginning in 1915, aspirin was made available as an over-the-counter medication. There still are some forms of prescription aspirin that are sold in some countries, usually with a higher dosage and a different formulation from the the one used in aspirin that is sold over the counter.

More facts about aspirin:

  • The familiar tablet form of aspirin began to appear in the early 20th century and became the most common form of the over-the-counter product during the 1920s.

  • Prescription aspirin usually is reserved for treating severe health issues, including various forms of rheumatism, osteoarthritis and other conditions that cause the immune system to attack organs and systems within the body. Medication of this type is much stronger than over-the-counter versions and sometimes comes in a time-release formula.

  • Chewable aspirin products were first introduced in 1952. Coated aspirin first became available in the United States in 1984.

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