Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can NSAIDs prevent heart attacks?"
Some people say to take one a day. Will this keep me healthy?
NSAIDs, short for Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs, include the medications such as ibuprofen and naproxen, among others. They are very effective at treating some types of pain, and many of them are available over the counter. For that reason, their use is extremely common. They should not be used long term, however, without discussing their use with your physician. As with all medications, they have side effects that can be serious. Some of the most dangerous include ulcers and other bleeding problems. Additionally, some relatively new research seems to indicate that taking a NSAID regularly can actually increase your risk of stroke. While this is new data and needs to be interpreted with care, it highlights the fact that all medications have risks, some of which we are not even aware of. The one exception to the current discussion of NSAIDs is the oldest: aspirin. Doctors have long understood that the anti-platelet effects of aspirin can reduce the risk of heart attack in some people. In fact, if you are having a heart attack, your doctor may give you a chewable aspirin to help. Please speak with your doctor about aspirin therapy, and any drugs that you might begin taking.
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