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Is it Safe to Take Aspirin and Ibuprofen?

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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 14 April 2014
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Most doctors agree that it is best to avoid use of aspirin and ibuprofen at the same time. For individuals who use lose-dose aspirin therapy to help prevent clotting that could contribute to a heart attack or stroke, taking aspirin and ibuprofen together may prove problematic. Aspirin helps to thin the blood and prevent abnormal clotting, but ibuprofen counters this effect when taken with the aspirin. As such, taking these two drugs together should be avoided by patients who are taking aspirin for this reason. Additionally, mixing aspirin with ibuprofen may increase a person’s risk of suffering from gastrointestinal bleeding.

For most people, there is no need to take both aspirin and ibuprofen. When a person is attempting to relieve pain, he may simply use one of these medications rather than combining them. If neither will provide effective pain relief, he may choose another, more potent medication instead. Some people, however, take a low dose of aspirin on a daily basis in order to help prevent heart attacks and strokes. At times, these people may need to use another medication for pain and consider taking ibuprofen; in most cases, this is not the best choice.

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Mixing aspirin and ibuprofen is a poor choice because of the effects a person can expect from each of these drugs. Aspirin is well known for its anti-clotting effect, and ibuprofen interferes with it, making it significantly less effective for this purpose. The interference of ibuprofen with aspirin may depend on how closely together a person takes the two medications, however. Generally, taking ibuprofen less than eight hours before taking aspirin or taking it less than 30 minutes after an aspirin dose has this negative effect.

Though it is usually best to avoid taking aspirin and ibuprofen together, a single dose of ibuprofen taken along with aspirin is only associated with minimal risk. This means if a person needs pain relief and ibuprofen is the only medication available at the time, taking it once probably won’t cause a problem. The important thing, in such situations, is to avoid taking the medications too closely together. If an individual has a frequent need to take another medication for pain relief, he may do well to seek the advice of a doctor.

In addition to interfering with aspirin’s anti-clotting effect, taking these two medications together may cause other problems. Aspirin is associated with gastrointestinal irritation and bleeding. A known side effect of Ibuprofen is stomach or intestinal bleeding, so taking the medications together may compound this issue.

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Discuss this Article

anon338422
Post 5

Thanks for all this info. I've had intermittent toothache, from a temporary crown, for a month and a half, and knew that I could count on ibuprofen. But tonight, I've also got a sinus/headache and so decided to try aspirin (took two, one more than my usual dosage). Man, it wasn't doing it, and the throbbing had me physically abusing myself in the head. I am pretty sure I'm going to have to take an advil within the next four hours. These posts make it sound pretty innocuous. Thanks!

orangey03
Post 4

@giddion – Yes, you can do this. I get migraines, too, and I once noticed that the label of my medication said it contained both acetaminophen and aspirin.

I'm sure the dosages are adjusted to be safe, so you might want to just buy this kind of medicine instead of determining your own dosage of each. I have no idea how much is safe when combining the two.

I've never wanted to take ibuprofen and aspirin together, but that's simply because ibuprofen has never worked for me. I'm glad to know that I can mix my two favorite painkillers, though.

giddion
Post 3

@feasting – That makes sense to me. Ibuprofen and aspirin really are too similar to be taken together.

However, I can't help but wonder if you can combine aspirin with a painkiller of another class. Would it be safe to take acetaminophen if you have recently taken aspirin?

I get headaches a lot, and sometimes, aspirin is enough. However, if I have a migraine, I need to take something more. Would acetaminophen be safe?

Perdido
Post 2

I think a person should pick either aspirin or ibuprofen and stick with it. Just keep one kind around the house or in your purse.

I take ibuprofen for pain, and it is the only painkiller I have in my house. My grandfather takes an aspirin a day for his health, so if he is in pain, he just takes more than his usual daily dosage.

He understands that sticking to one medication is best. There are too many unknowns when it comes to drug interactions, so taking only one removes the guesswork.

feasting
Post 1

I had always assumed that since these two drugs belonged to the same class, they shouldn't be taken together. You wouldn't take two antihistamines on top of each other, and you wouldn't take two anti-diarrheal medications together. Why should pain medication be any different?

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