Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Men's Health

Font Size

An Aspirin a Day ... or Not?

Aspirin's protective powers may now guard against cancer, too.

WebMD Feature

We've long known that aspirin reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes while increasing your chances of surviving them. But now this household drug may protect you in other ways, too.

Newer evidence indicates that aspirin can also reduce the risk of cancer of the colon, esophagus, stomach, rectum, and prostate. And most recently, the humble aspirin has offered the tantalizing possibility that it may help protect against Alzheimer's disease. With all of these potential benefits, why aren't we dumping aspirin in the water as we do with fluoride?

"Aspirin is the one drug I would take to a desert island with me," says Mark Fendrick, MD, an associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor. "It costs two cents a day and its benefits are amazing. And if it had no side effects at all, we could give it to everybody." But Dr. Fendrick worries that the ever-growing list of diseases and disorders that aspirin and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) seem to combat drowns out information about the risks of this "wonder" drug.

"When you take aspirin, the level of stomach protection is decreased and you're more likely to bleed. Thus, people who take aspirin regularly -- even in a buffered or coated form -- will have roughly double the likelihood of having a perforated ulcer or bleeding in the GI tract," explains Fendrick. "Relatively little attention is paid to this problem that kills more people in the U.S. each year than asthma or cervical cancer. What we need to do is focus less attention on finding more things that make aspirin look good, we have plenty of those, and think more about focusing on how to minimize risk."

So how do you decide whether or not a regular, preventive dose of aspirin is right for you? And if it is, how do you lower the risk of side effects? There's no simple formula, unfortunately. "When you're deciding whether someone should take blood pressure medication or diabetes medication, there are clear cutoffs. In the case of aspirin, the decision is multifactorial and requires a lot of thought," Fendrick tells WebMD.

1 | 2 | 3

Today on WebMD

man coughing
Men shouldn’t ignore.
man swinging in hammock
And how to get out it.
shaving tools
On your shaving skills.
muscular man flexing
Four facts that matter.
Food Men 10 Foods Boost Male Health
Thoughtful man sitting on bed
Man taking blood pressure
doctor holding syringe
Condom Quiz
man running
older couple in bed