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Low-Dose Aspirin Therapy - Topic Overview

Be careful taking pain relievers

Although nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen, relieve pain and inflammation much like aspirin does, they do not affect blood clotting in the same way that aspirin does. Do not substitute NSAIDs for aspirin. NSAIDs may increase your risk for a heart attack or stroke.

If you need both aspirin and a pain reliever every day, talk to your doctor about what pain reliever you should take. If you take uncoated aspirin and ibuprofen at the same time, the aspirin may not work as well to prevent a heart attack. You may be able to use acetaminophen instead of ibuprofen to treat your pain. But if ibuprofen is your only option, avoid taking it during the 8 hours before and the 30 minutes after your aspirin dose. For example, you can take ibuprofen 30 minutes after your aspirin dose. If you take ibuprofen once in a while, it does not seem to cause problems.

Experts do not know if NSAIDs other than ibuprofen interfere with uncoated aspirin. Also, experts do not know if people who take a daily coated aspirin should be concerned about ibuprofen or other NSAIDs interacting with the aspirin. Talk to your doctor if you take these medicines every day.

More information

For more safety tips, see:

actionset.gif Blood Thinners Other Than Warfarin: Taking Them Safely

How do you take low-dose aspirin?

Your doctor will recommend a dose of aspirin and how often to take it. Most people take aspirin every day to help prevent a heart attack or a stroke, but others might take aspirin every other day.

Low-dose aspirin (81 mg) is the most common dose used to prevent a heart attack or a stroke. But the dose for daily aspirin can range from 81 mg to 325 mg. One low-dose aspirin contains 81 mg. One adult-strength aspirin contains about 325 mg.

For low-dose aspirin therapy, do not take medicines that combine aspirin with other ingredients such as caffeine and sodium.

Low-dose aspirin seems to be as effective in preventing heart attacks and strokes as higher doses.

Take aspirin with food if it bothers your stomach.

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