Ibuprofen interferes with aspirin's heart benefits
Taking ibuprofen or other NSAIDs at the same time as aspirin may put you at risk of adverse cardiovascular effects. Turn to ConsumerReportsHealth.org for information on how to take these drugs safely.
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If you're on low-dose aspirin therapy for heart attack or stroke prevention and need a drug for mild to moderate pain, try the standard dose (two 325 milligram pills) of acetaminophen (Tylenol) before reaching for ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB).
On Sept. 8, 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned patients on low-dose aspirin therapy that taking ibuprofen could undermine aspirin's ability to fend off heart attack or stroke. Consumer Reports on Health cautioned readers of this interaction in June 2005 after studies indicated that people taking low-dose aspirin plus frequent ibuprofen or any nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as naproxen (Aleve), have greater cardiovascular risk than those taking aspirin alone. Aspirin thins the blood, which helps prevent clots that can cause heart attack and stroke. Ibuprofen also thins blood, though to a much lesser extent, but competes with aspirin and has been shown to block its effect.
Because acetaminophen has no such blood-thinning action, people on aspirin therapy should try it first for pain relief. If acetaminophen doesn't help, the occasional use of ibuprofen or another NSAID should be OK as long as the aspirin is taken first to reduce the risk of an interaction. The FDA suggests you wait at least 30 minutes after taking immediate-release aspirin to take ibuprofen; our consultants recommend waiting for at least two hours. The FDA has not issued a recommendation for enteric-coated aspirin.
For more information, go to the Web site of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
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