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F.A.Q.

If you have never suffered a heart attack or stroke, and you do not have coronary heart disease or peripheral artery disease, please review the questions and answers below to see if aspirin may be right for you.

If you have ever been told that you have coronary heart disease or peripheral artery disease; or if you have ever suffered a heart attack or stroke; or if you ever had undergone a past heart, carotid, or peripheral artery disease angioplasty, stent placement, or surgery, please talk to your doctor or healthcare professional to a see if aspirin is right for you.

Why should I talk to my doctor about daily aspirin?

Because heart attacks and strokes are the leading causes of death and disability. A simple daily aspirin has been shown to prevent a first heart attack or stroke and colorectal cancer. Asking your doctor, pharmacist, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant about aspirin may help preserve your health and ensure that you’re around for years to come. And the evaluation is quick and easy. Contact your healthcare professional today and simply ask, “Should I be taking daily aspirin?”

Am I a candidate for daily aspirin?

Only a healthcare professional can tell you for sure. Speak with your doctor, pharmacist, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant as soon as possible to determine if daily aspirin can help you prevent a potential heart attack or stroke. Here are some guidelines that can help you determine if you’re a candidate. Ask about aspirin if:

  • You are between the ages of 50-69
  • You have not had a bleeding stomach ulcer
  • You are not allergic to aspirin
  • You are not taking any other clot-preventing medication or daily anti-inflammatory medications

Should everyone take daily aspirin?

No. A healthcare professional can tell you if you should be taking daily aspirin. Aspirin usually isn’t recommended for people:

  • With a recent history of stomach ulcers or bleeding
  • Who are allergic to aspirin
  • Who use anti-clotting medications or daily anti-inflammatory medications
  • Who are not between the ages of 50-69

How does aspirin prevent heart attacks and strokes?

Most heart attacks and strokes are caused by blood clots that occur inside the arteries that supply the heart or brain. Clots can form quickly and clog the flow of blood to these important organs. When heart cells die from not getting enough blood, a heart attack occurs. When brain cells die from not getting enough blood, a stroke occurs. Daily aspirin helps prevent clots from forming and thus lowers your risk of heart attack and stroke.

How often should I take aspirin?

Aspirin works best when taken daily. If you miss a dose, just begin again the next day. It’s not important what time you take it as long as it’s taken daily.

Is an 81 mg aspirin the right dose for me?

The usual dose to prevent a first heart attack and stroke is 81 mg (low dose) aspirin. Higher doses (325 mg) of aspirin are also effective, but are associated with slightly increased risks (see next question).

Does taking aspirin every day have risks?

Yes. Because aspirin prevents blood clots, people who use aspirin daily have a slightly higher risk of bruising and bleeding. Bleeding can occasionally be serious (for example, when associated with a stomach ulcer). Very rarely, people may be allergic to aspirin. For these reasons, it’s important to ask a healthcare professional if aspirin is right for you.

Is there a certain type of aspirin that I should use?

No. Aspirin is effective whether it is generic or brand name, buffered or plain, enteric-coated or regular.

What is enteric-coated aspirin and should I take it?

Enteric-coated aspirin is layered with a protective coating. This coating stops the pill from dissolving in the stomach and irritating the lining. The pill passes through the stomach and dissolves in the intestines instead. Enteric-coated pills are a good choice for people who are prone to stomach irritation, but can still cause stomach ulcers or bleeding.

Should I take aspirin if I take other medications?

Aspirin has been proven safe to take with almost all other medications, including over the counter antacids. But to minimize risk, you should only take daily aspirin if your doctor or another healthcare professional has prescribed it. In general, you shouldn’t take aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke when you are using other anti-clotting medications or daily anti-inflammatory medications.

Do the daily vitamins I might be taking interfere with aspirin use?

There are no vitamins that interfere with aspirin, but please contact your healthcare professional to determine the best course of action for you.

Does aspirin prevent cancer?

Research indicates that aspirin may be linked to reduced risk of colorectal cancer.