Aspergum® was an analgesic product manufactured by Insight Pharmaceuticals until 2006, when it was discontinued. The product was a combination of gum and aspirin that provided aspirin in a readily absorbable chewable form for pain management, and was commonly marketed for the treatment of sore throats and headaches. Alternative products are available on the market for people seeking analgesics, including aspirin-free products designed for people who should not take aspirin for medical reasons.
The earliest combination of aspirin and gum dates to the 1920s. Aspirin was a popular and readily available over the counter medication and providing it in gum format provided companies with a new way of meeting customer needs. Chewing gum combined with medication is known as functional gum and a number of companies have developed other functional gum products, including chewable analgesics. Chewing can help people absorb the medication more quickly, in addition to providing a distraction from pain and soreness.
Insight Pharmaceuticals manufactured two flavors of Aspergum®, cherry and orange. As with other medications containing aspirin, the product was not recommended for use in certain people, including patients with liver disease, young children, people with certain allergies, and individuals with a history of stomach ulcers and other digestive tract problems. Aspirin is also not recommended for use in children with fevers, as they can develop a rare complication known as Reye's Syndrome.
Packets of Aspergum® provided people with measured doses of aspirin in each gum tablet, along with clear directions for usage of the medication. It can be dangerous to take too much aspirin at once or to take repeated high doses of aspirin over the course of several days as the liver may have difficulty clearing the medication. People who overdose on aspirin can develop severe complications. Since many analgesic products contain aspirin, it is important for patients to be read medication labels to confirm that they are not inadvertently taking excessive aspirin.
Alternatives to Aspergum® can include lozenges to ease sore throats along with oral aspirin for headaches and minor aches and pains. If a patient has a very high fever or an altered level of consciousness, over-the-counter remedies should be discontinued and a doctor should be consulted. It is also advisable to ask a doctor if symptoms persist over the course of several days without improving, as the patient may have a more serious medical problem and could benefit from diagnostic testing and prescription medications.