Saturday, July 17, 2010

More facts about aspirin...

Today I have yet again encountered customers inquiring about getting aspirin for standby treatment of an acute heart attack again. On googling, it was found that there are circulars of email about the use of aspirin for self-treating heart attacks and on Snope there is a write-up about the accuracy or rather lack of it in these emails of unknown sources. Read more in my previous post on Should you be taking aspirin to prevent/treat heart attack?. Mayo clinic also has an article on that.

Bottom line is still to consult your doctor if you have suspected heart problems and seek immediate medical attention if you have a heart attack.

For more FAQs about aspirin see this FDA site - http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/QuestionsAnswers/ucm071879.htm

Here are snapshots from the FAQs:

If a consumer is interested in using aspirin to prevent or treat symptoms of heart problems, what should he or she do?
A. Consumers should always first ask their doctor. In fact, aspirin products are labeled this way: "Important: See your doctor before taking this product for other new uses of aspirin because serious side effects could occur with self treatment."
Can consumers safely use aspirin to treat suspected acute heart attacks?
A. If consumers suspect they are having a heart attack, their most important action must be to seek emergency medical care immediately. The advise and supervision of a doctor should direct this use of aspirin and patients are encouraged to speak with their doctor about this use.
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Just a side note about the use of ibuprofen, which is a commnly used NSAID for pain relief (OTC in some countries but P-item in Singapore), if one is taking aspirin. It is reported by FDA that ibuprofen can interfere with the anti-platelet effect of low dose aspirin (81 mg per day), potentially rendering aspirin less effective when used for cardioprotection and stroke prevention. Patients who use immediate release aspirin (not enteric coated) and take a single dose of ibuprofen 400 mg should dose the ibuprofen at least 30 minutes or longer after aspirin ingestion, or more than 8 hours before aspirin ingestion to avoid attenuation of aspirin’s effect. If possible, use of other non-NSAIDs analgesics would be a preferred option for patients taking daily aspirin and requiring frequent analgesia.

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