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My doctor prescribed daily low-dose aspirin to prevent a second heart attack. When is the best time to take it? —P.R., Arlington, Va.
There’s really no best time, but you should take it at the same time each day. That helps keep aspirin’s anticlotting effect consistent and makes it easier to remember your dose. One exception: If you also regularly take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, and generic) or naproxen (Aleve and generic), you should take your aspirin at least four hours before. That’s because NSAIDs, like aspirin, can cause gastrointestinal bleeding; taking them close together increases that risk. There’s also evidence that ibuprofen can suppress aspirin’s anticlotting effect when they’re taken in tandem, so it’s best to let aspirin do its job first.
Read about the risks associated with taking low-dose aspirin , particularly for men 45 and over and women 55 and over. And to help you decide if the benefits outweigh the risks, take a look at 10 common questions about aspirin .