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Low-Dose Aspirin Therapy - Topic Overview

Who should not take low-dose aspirin?

People who have certain health problems shouldn't take aspirin. These include people who:

  • Have a stomach ulcer.
  • Have recently had a stroke caused by bleeding in the brain.
  • Are allergic to aspirin.
  • Have high blood pressure that isn't under control.
  • Have asthma that is made worse by aspirin.

If you think you are having a stroke, do not take aspirin because not all strokes are caused by clots. Aspirin could make some strokes worse.

Gout can become worse or hard to treat for some people who take low-dose aspirin.

If you can't take aspirin, your doctor may have you take clopidogrel (Plavix) to help prevent a heart attack or a stroke.

If you take an anticoagulant, such as warfarin (Coumadin), talk with your doctor before taking aspirin, because taking both medicines can cause bleeding problems.

What precautions do I need to take?

Limit alcohol

Drinking 3 or more alcoholic drinks every day while taking daily aspirin increases your risk for liver damage and stomach bleeding. If your doctor recommends aspirin, limit or stop alcohol usage.

Talk to doctor before a surgery or procedure

Before you have a surgery or procedure that may cause bleeding, tell your doctor or dentist that you take aspirin. Aspirin may cause you to bleed more than usual. He or she will tell you if you should stop taking aspirin before your surgery or procedure. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.

Do not suddenly stop taking aspirin without talking to your doctor first. Talking to your cardiologist first is especially important if you have had a stent placed in a coronary artery.

Tell your doctor if you notice that you bruise easily or have other signs of bleeding. These include bloody or black stools or prolonged bleeding from cuts or scrapes.

Tell your doctor about all your medicines

Aspirin should not be taken with many prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, herbal remedies, and supplements. So before you start aspirin therapy, talk to your doctor about all the drugs and other remedies you take.

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