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Are you taking too much anti-inflammatory medication?

October 27, 2020

About the Author

photo of Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Dr. Robert H. Shmerling is the former clinical chief of the division of rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and is a current member of the corresponding faculty in medicine at Harvard Medical School. … See Full Bio
View all posts by Robert H. Shmerling, MD


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Fredrick Welfare
April 13, 2018

Low dose aspirin is not about anti-inflammatory or pain medication. Talking about the 81mg aspirin in this context is a non sequitur. It is not clear that it has any effect whatsoever except perhaps for those recovering from a cardiovascular disease. Ibuprofen however, and other OTC pain relievers, are taken by many at doses of 400-600mg for pain several times a day. The writer was addressing the problem of taking more than the recommended daily limits and by implication overdosing, which varies between persons depending on age, weight, gender, and particular symptoms.

The underlying and rarely discussed issue is why so many people are in pain!!

April 11, 2018

I have been taking 81mg aspirin along side simvastatin for the past 40 yrs a at bed time. Just yesterday I got my blood test result from my Doctor. He said that every thing is OK from kidneys to liver to the heart etc. I am 81 yrs old

April 9, 2018

To Henry Gotlob,

Your use of viscous is incorrect in saying low dose aspirin “…makes your blood flow easier…”

The meaning of viscous is “having a thick, sticky consistency between solid and liquid; having a high viscosity. ” Unlikely that viscous blood would therefore flow easier.

April 9, 2018

I will assume that any chemical that is not a part of the body chemical is harmful, in the long run, to the body. However, due to the dynamic complexity (cause and effect separated by time and space) of the system by which the body works, it may be very difficult to pinpoint the adverse effect of such chemicals.

April 9, 2018

I’m interested in learning of the maximum, “probably- safe” per-day (or week) of ibuprofen. Does height/weight factor into the picture?

Appreciate your answer!

A Carey
April 9, 2018

I took low dose aspirin for a bit until a blood test revealed anemia. More tests confirmed it was from internal bleeding caused by the aspirin, and it could have killed me 🙁


Venkat Warren.M.D.
April 9, 2018

A good physician will ALWAYS listen to his patient! Through his talking, the patient is not only expressing his health concerns but also giving the physician great clues about the possible diagnoses !! Low dose aspirin , 85 Mg or less is well proven to be very beneficial for secondary prevention for subsequent heart attacks but as primary prevention for MI’s, it’s value remains to be documented ! Even low dose aspirin theoretically could cause significant side effects in some patients ! Cheers. Venkat Warren.M.D.

April 9, 2018

The risk is low with low-dose ASA. Generally it’s not very harmful to the kidneys, but the risk of GI bleeding is present, though to a much lesser extent than with a full OTC dose of NSAID such as ALEVE or IBUPROFEN.

john ayres
April 9, 2018

As Azure says, there are many reasons why a quick chat with your doctor is only an option when you decide there is a serious problem, and of course, he needs to get you out of there in record time.
That’s why I whish sites like this would go little further to give specific information – numbers for example . instead of just an alarming essay on the dangers and pitfalls ,no real guidance and ” get down to your doctor”

Henry Gotlob
April 9, 2018

Low dose aspirin is taken to keep your blood more viscous. It flows easier, in order to lighten the load on your heart and to make it easier for your blood flow throu narrowe arteries. You should be taking them for sure.

April 9, 2018

Oh, always take the enteric coated baby Aspirin. As I said, 10yrs now and no problem, along with 75mg Plavix.

April 9, 2018

No its not. I have taken it for yrs no problem. Always take with food.

April 5, 2018

“If you don’t think your NSAID is helping you (or if you aren’t sure), talk to your doctor about stopping it.”

Information/data I would’ve liked to have seen provided in this article:

of the people engaging in any or all of the disapproved of/risky behaviors how many: (1) don’t have a PCP; (2) have such a high deductible they & immediate family members only see their health care provider (not a MD usually but a PA or NP) maybe once a year if they’re really ill and so probably won’t remember to ask hey is it ok if I take both of these OTC meds? Or this much of the OTC med? Particularly when the health care provider will spend about 15 minutes w/him or her and spend 5 minutes of that 15 minutes doing data entry.

Will the health care provider even be listening if the question’s asked?

April 2, 2018

I have read many benefits to taking low doses of aspirin (less than 100 mg/day). Is aspirin in low doses taken on a daily basis as harmful as other NSAID’s?


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